Thank you to Community All Star Mairin Srygley for organizing grocery sponsors during the COVID-19 pandemic!
With warm hearts and generous souls, support has come pouring in from friends and neighbors to support immigrant families in our area experiencing food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. These days, it can be hard to see where we are headed in the midst of uncertainty, but we anticipate that the need for grocery sponsors will continue for the foreseeable future.
In April and May, the combined contributions from friends and neighbors provided groceries, diapers, school supplies, cash, and rent support to over 20 families, about 100 adults and children in Southeast Baltimore. In return, with gratitude, families shared thank you notes, photos with the purchases, and videos of their children practicing skills at home. These photos show the goods riding in the car, delivered to doorsteps, and filling the homes of our neighbors.
Here's the long story, and more information about how to get involved as a grocery sponsor:
Many immigrants with and without U.S. documentation are not receiving federal relief funds during COVID-19. Our neighbors pay taxes, work hard to construct our buildings, clean our offices and schools, and serve food in our community. They will not have help as they lose work, get sick, or grieve loved ones.
Even when families now try to register for food stamps for their citizen children, the system is clogged due to the pandemic. They can only apply online with an English language application, so they need assistance with the system and/or language. If they do manage to apply, it takes weeks longer than usual to receive the benefits.
Eligible families have been connected with professionals where applicable. Families are aware of resources for helping to process food stamps applications and seek financial support. Yet, when they do get food stamps, rent, utilities, and miscellaneous household expenses are still a concern.
To combat these ongoing needs, grocery sponsors are asked to contributed $50 or $100 per month. Grocery sponsors can work with the family directly, or, liaise with Mairin to work through questions/concerns. $100 monthly is enough for feed a family of three for 30 days. In return, grocery sponsors receive personalized messages, photo evidence, and a copy of the receipt for the purchases.
Mairin is organizing the funds through venmo (@msrygley), and keeping a running list of specific families' household needs. Mairin makes grocery runs, and delivers the purchases with contactless delivery precautions. If you do not use venmo but would like to be a grocery sponsor, Mairin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to Mairin, and to everybody who has donated, for continuing to support our neighbors' needs during the pandemic!