Since 1992, El Centro Hispano has been dedicated to strengthening the community and advocating for equity and inclusion for local Hispanics and Latinos. The nonprofit serves as a critical support system for many local families, but during an international pandemic, they find themselves needed by the community now more than ever.

As local businesses close their doors and community members lose their jobs, El Centro Hispano has increased their efforts to provide much-needed resources to families who may be economically disadvantaged during the coronavirus outbreak.

To do this, El Centro has created the COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund. This fund aims to support families in the community who may live paycheck to paycheck, those who have lost income due to the closings of their workplace and those who have multiple children and will be forced to stay home or are likely to get sick with COVID-19.

Pilar Rocha-Goldberg is the President and CEO of El Centro Hispano. She said El Centro is working to provide people with the basic necessities needed to help them get through the week.

“Our idea with this fund is to be able to help people with perishable food that almost is never donated but also medicine and other products that people will need,” Rocha-Goldberg said.

Rocha-Goldberg said there is definitely a greater need for financial support in the community and El Centro has continued to see this as applications for the fund continue to roll in.

“So I think the main concern for our community members is mainly how to be able to survive in these difficult times because economically it’s going to be tough,” Rocha-Goldberg said.

El Centro has set a $5,000-dollar goal for the fund and has so far met over $3,000 dollars of that goal.

Rocha-Goldberg said that money will be great for helping people meet their basic needs, but outside of food insecurity, a big concern in the community is being able to pay rent and utilities. That in itself is going to require a lot more fundraising.

“You know, to help one person we need to fundraise between $800 to $1,600 dollars and a lot of people are in this situation,” Rocha-Goldberg said. “So we are trying to see how we can help with that piece, but right now it’s more about the survival of the day to day.”

Outside of fundraising for the COVID-19 Crisis Response fund, El Centro is calling every member to check-in and ask what they need. Whether it’s providing diapers to families with young children or accessing free virtual education classes, Rocha-Goldberg encourages the community to call El Centro if they need help being connected to local services – and of course to donate in whatever way they can.

“Definitely if you can help the community in any way, donating food or with the fund, please contact us – or if you have any questions,” Rocha-Goldberg said. “I think this is a time we really need to be together and support each other, everybody.”

To learn more about El Centro or to donate to their crisis response fund, visit their website.

(Lead photo courtesy of El Centro Hispano)

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