Last April, the Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition (ISC) (of which UUFA is a member) asked for your help to aid our undocumented neighbors who are struggling financially during the COVID-19 Pandemic crisis by donating part or all of your government stimulus checks to the Fondo Solidario de Emergencia fund (Fondo) that was set up by ISC through the Athens Immigrants Right Coalition and Casa de Amistad.
We initially set a goal of raising $50,000 to support these families who are ineligible to receive any form of Government Support during the pandemic. To our delight, we exceeded our goal and raised over $170,000 during 2020. Those donations were all dispersed to very needy families before the end of the year. The Fondo was able, however, to obtain further funding through the Athens Clarke-County CARES Act and other grant agencies to continue our support of the immigrant community in the Athens Area. As of the end of January 2021, the Fondo has provided over $400,000 of support to immigrants and low income families affected by the Pandemic in the Athens area.
We currently have a CDBG grant that will help us continue that support through the next 4 months. HOWEVER, this current grant is set up for reimbursements ONLY, which means that we have to use our own funds to support the families and then send in a report towards the end of each month to claim reimbursements for those expenses. In February and March, we have already disbursed over $57,000 in rent and utility payments for families in need. We have not yet received any reimbursement for these disbursements and have been told that reimbursement could take another three or four weeks to arrive. We have no more funds left to help the families who are still suffering from this pandemic. The following are just a couple of examples of the current needs in our community:
- Maria was operated on in November for breast cancer, her husband–only one who worked– has just left the hospital for COVID, and she is paying for the chemotherapies and medications she needs. Her husband has just returned to work, and she hopes that things will get better soon. Maria was helped with $420 for rent assistance. We were not able to help her with her medical bills at this time.
- Belinda is struggling to pay the bills since there is now only one income in the household. Her partner has been sick since the pandemic began, which resulted in a loss of work hours; he is currently in the hospital awaiting a heart transplant. Belinda is now the only one supporting herself and her 3 children. Belinda had to be referred to another agency as we do not have sufficient funds to support her request of $1276 towards rent and utilities.
The third round of stimulus and relief checks from the latest relief bill have already started arriving in eligible peoples’ bank accounts or through the US mail.
For most Americans a “relief check” for $1400 per adult plus $1400 for each dependent child and adult dependent will arrive soon–most Americans but not for an estimated 11 million residents who are undocumented. A very rough estimate is that there are over 3000 such families in Athens-Clarke County. They will not receive unemployment checks nor the CARES Act checks nor the Relief Act checks.
We are calling on members of the ACC community–especially those who are part of strong faith communities–to dedicate a portion of your relief check if you are able. Show undocumented friends, neighbors, employees, restaurant workers, health care workers, and elderly or disabled community members that Athens- Clarke County CARES about them!
What can your ACC CARES donation do?
Based on a $1400 check,
10% or $140 provides food for two weeks for a family of 4
20% or $280 pays for utility bills for one household for one month
50% or $700 pays rent for a mobile home or small apartment
100% or $1400 provides rent and utilities for one family for a month
The Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition (ISC) is committed to raising $60,000 to offset the crushing financial hardships undocumented members of the community are already experiencing by filling the gap in the anticipated CDBG funds. Dignidad Inmigrante en Athens will identify those in the undocumented community who need immediate assistance. ISC will evaluate applications. Your generous donation will go to Fondo
Solidario de Emergencia. Fondo will allocate all funds to individuals and families, with administrative costs being reimbursed through the current CDBG grant. All are members of the Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition.
Donate going online, mailing a check, or using Venmo (@SIFIC).
Make checks out to ACC CARES/Fondo.
Mail checks to Fondo Solidario, 452 N. Billups Street, Athens, GA 30606
Fondo’s fiscal agent is Casa de Amistad, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. All donations may be deductible for tax purposes. Please share your name, address, and email in the Venmo memo line if you would like a letter for tax purposes.
ISC is comprised of representatives from many faith communities including the undersigned:
Joel Siebentritt, ISC Coordinator
Terry Salguero, Catholic Center
David Alper, Congregation Children of Israel
Mark Harper, Covenant Presbyterian Church
Chris Conley, First Baptist Church
Don Mosley, Jubilee Partners
Jerry Gale, Mindful Breath Sangha & Congregation Children of Israel
JoBeth Allen, Oconee St. United Methodist Church
Freida Hammett, Quaker Meeting of Athens
John Olive, David Jarrett, Nancy McNair, Karen Solheim and Don Smith, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens