BringIt! Masks Supports Los Angeles Families in Need
Our lives are not the same as they were only months ago. Whether that means you are suddenly unemployed, have to wear a mask, are sick, have lost loved ones, have newfound community with your neighbors, or renewed commitment to fighting for racial justice, we are all in a state of life interrupted. I have so many mixed emotions right now, but I do know that I can do things that matter, at least in some small way, every day. It’s the only way I can see through to make sense of my own life interrupted.
My partner Kristen Messina and I have been humbled by the work we have seen in helping those in need and have made a commitment with BringIt! Masks to help out people who have put themselves on the front lines by giving our masks to those in need. Our initial focus was to give masks to first responders. Seeing pictures of nurses wearing our masks and hearing their stories was very gratifying. In an effort to make a more direct and focused impact, we have now partnered with Upward Bound House, an extraordinary organization that for almost 30 years, has had a 95% success record in helping families achieve independent and stable housing. Our first donation of 70 masks was for the children and teenagers who reside with their families at Upward Bound House.
Due to the current pandemic, Upward Bound House is now facing urgent challenges in continuing to fulfill their important mission:
Volunteers: How does an organization that relies on over 100 on-site volunteers maintain their services when those volunteers are not allowed on site due to COVID-19 safety guidelines?
Housing: Upward Bound House takes in all of their families until they are able to live independently. This normally takes 6-9 months. It’s not hard to imagine that with the current economy, finding full time work and saving the money to support your family could take more than their usual 6-9 month timeline. This equates to more money to support each family and less families helped.
Food: Upward Bound House meets all of the food needs for their families. Think about how challenging it has been to shop for your family. Now imagine shopping for over 220 families at a time. Plus, providing 3 meals a day for families without a full kitchen and the challenges of social distancing while feeding these families.
Education: Upward Bound House only takes in families with at least one child under the age of 18. This means all of their families have children in school. Upward Bound House makes sure every child receives a proper education. If you are a parent of a school age child, you know what it’s like to suddenly have your child at home and distance learning. Multiply that by over 550 children and that is what Upward Bound House is handling. They are now responsible for meals normally supplied by school as well as providing high speed internet and computers to every child so that they can attend zoom classes. And more children at home means more childcare, one of the many jobs normally fulfilled by volunteers.
Employment: Upward Bound House provides interview training and resume building to the adults to help them obtain full time jobs. This training normally happens on site, but with the volunteers unable to come in, this means facilitating zoom meetings which translates to a need for more computers. And it’s not as if anyone is being hired any time soon. So, families are at home most of the day and that adds up to higher utility bills.
Health and safety: Upward Bound House is responsible for all of their families needs. That means keeping them safe and healthy, providing them access to doctors, vaccines and medicine. Now they are tasked with the additional safety measures of providing masks and additional cleaning supplies for all of their families as well as orchestrating social distancing.
Be Safe. Be Kind. BringIt!