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The county has spread available funds across as many organizations as it could, and all asked for more than we were able to provide. Go to the website of the organizations and projects that interest you and send in your donation!
The county has spread available funds across as many organizations as it could, and all asked for more than we were able to provide. Go to the website of the organizations and projects that interest you and send in your donation! Photo: Apples in apple orchard. NPS Photo - public domain

Stretching Our Limited Dollars To Help The Community During The Coronavirus
Health Emergency 

Apr 29, 2020

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The Coronavirus Public Health Emergency has created hardship across a broad section of our District. Last month we opened up a competitive grant application, knowing that there would be immediate needs for a wide range of support. The following list are those that we put forward for funding to the April 28th Board of Supervisors meeting. Our priorities in choosing these proposals were: 

Food support - We’ve seen lines at the food banks growing exponentially as workers have been furloughed. Those organizations that prioritize sourcing food from local businesses – farms, restaurants, and small businesses – help not only in providing food, but also in supporting those local businesses that grow, prepare, and deliver food.

Small Business Support – Helping small business develop online sales or production channels and purchasing gift cards to sell at a discount for locals to get food and services.

Workers that don’t qualify for standard support - So many in our district fall through the cracks in established systems. These funds will be going to help undocumented workers and artists.

Mental and physical health: providing mental health services and showers for youth and homeless. 

There were also a variety of proposals that we were able to send to other funding sources within the county. Some are being contracted to provide food and services through Emergency Operations Center, for example. As a result, we have been able to stretch our limited dollars as far as possible. 

Bodega Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, $5,000 for small business support

Russian River Chamber of Commerce, $7,500 to help small business set up online 

TLC Child and Family Services, $15,000 basics support

River to Coast Children’s Services, $20,000 basics support

Russian River Alliance (two grants), $10,000 food delivery

The Center for Social and Environmental Stewardship, $10,000 Youth program

Sonoma County Farm Trails, $20,000 Food programs

Sebastopol Center for the Arts, $15,000 Artist Support

Friends of Rio Nido, $5,000 Small business support 

Main Stage West, $5,000 online production support

Lazy Bear Fund, Inc., $20,000 food provision from local restaurants

Pets are Loving Support, $5,000 pet supplies and delivery to patients

West County Community Services (two grants), $45,000 showers for homeless and food programs

Russian Riverkeeper on behalf of Clean River Alliance, $5,000 Food delivery

Latino Service Providers, $25,000 basic support

North Bay Organizing Project on behalf of UndocuFund, $25,000 undocumented workers basic support

Are you in the position where you can afford to donate your $1,200 stimulus check? All of the organizations that we are funding above need more. We spread our funds across as many organizations as we could, and all asked for more than we were able to provide. Go to the website of the organizations and projects that interest you and send in your donation!

More Ways to help:

  ●  Food Packers are needed Monday – Friday in Santa Rosa, shifts are from 9 am - 12 pm and 1 - 4 pm. This opportunity is outdoors, so wear layers. Pack your own water and lunch/snacks. Sign up: Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership.

  ●  California Volunteers launched the #CaliforniansForAll service initiative to connect Californians with safe volunteer opportunities and encourage those unable to physically volunteer to think creatively about ways to make a difference in their communities. Visit:   https://californiavolunteers.ca.gov/get-involved/covid-19 

  ●  Know how to sew and want to help provide masks for those in need from frontline workers to the homeless? Connect online with North Bay Sewists Unite! and become part of this mask-making power group. 

Frequently Asked Questions and Resources:

  ●  The Virtual Local Assistance Centercan be found atwww.SoCoEmergency.org/Recover , and provides a resource listing of government and support services to help residents.

  ●  Eviction Defense Ordinance:  The COVID-19 Eviction Defense Ordinance creates a legal defense for tenants who are being evicted due to non-payment of rent and who can demonstrate financial losses due to lost work or medical expenses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.

        o   Residents may contact Legal Aid Sonoma County at 707-542-1290 or California Rural Legal Assistance at (707) 528-9941 for more information. Related tenant support FAQ’s are posted at Legal Aid’s website https://legalaidsc.org/covid-19-special-notices 

  ●  Unemployment Benefits:   Community members can get unemployment benefits through the Employee Development Department when they can't work, are being required to work less, or needing to stay home due to a child's school closing down due to coronavirus. Visithttp://bit.ly/2IHzsR1  for more info. We’ve heard of a lot of challenges dealing with unemployment. During this period, Sonoma County Job Link has set up a phone and email hotline to help you navigate worker and business benefits:   707-565-8079 or joblinkbusinessgroup@schsd.org. 

  ●  Business Owner Support:   The Sonoma County Economic Development Board is maintaining a Business Resource Guide and providing support to local businesses. Go to http://sonomaedb.org  for information. Business Owner Hotline for questions related to the Shelter in Place Health Order: 707-565-4667.

  ●  Mental Health Support:   How are you? If you are struggling, please know that the County now has a mental health “warm line” to offer support for emotional stress and anxiety. It will be available seven days a week from 10am to 7pm. The warm line is available to any County resident experiencing emotional side effects of the pandemic and/or the shelter in place order, or knows somebody who is. People can call at 707-565-2652. This free and private warm line is available seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Service in Spanish is also available as well as telephone interpretation for other languages. Local behavioral health professionals will answer calls seven days a week to talk with callers to provide support, guidance, education, and referrals.

Callers may also request that an outreach call be made to someone they are concerned about, which will help to reach people who are isolated, lonely and who may not reach out on their own.

  ●  Shelter In Place Enforcement: One of the issues that is causing a great deal of anxiety as the weather warms up is the influx of second home users, non-locals coast and park users and other violations of the Shelter In Place order. Sometimes it is frustrating to figure out what agency is in charge of enforcement. If the violation takes place in a park, we ask park rangers to follow up. If it involves traffic or parking, CHP is there to help. If you live in a city such as Santa Rosa, please contact city police. And the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office covers the wide territory of unincorporated West County. We have worked to decrease violation through education such as signage and direct contact with rental owners, through enforcement, and through communication with business owners. Above all, don’t let others’ behavior send you into an anxiety spiral. Take care of yourself, social distance, and stay away from those that are not acting responsibly. 

Lynda Hopkins

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