Combating COVID-19: Stories from our community

UnidosUS Affiliate Esperanza Health Centers established testing tents in Chicago.
UnidosUS Affiliate Esperanza Health Centers established testing tents in Chicago.

There is hope. Every day our inboxes get filled with communications from our Affiliates. Their offices may be closed, but their teams haven’t stopped working. In fact, we hear time and time again how our Affiliate Network is serving Latino and immigrant families during the pandemic: direct calls to ensure their needs are met; text messaging groups to offer support; video conference calls to continue delivering some of their programs; meal preparation and delivery to families; telemedicine services; and plenty examples of how our community is creating hope by supporting each other. Today we bring you a few of these stories.

By Beatriz Paniego-Béjar, Content Specialist, UnidosUS

In the last few weeks we’ve published articles to tell how our community and our Affiliates are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis (“How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting Latinos” and this story about our Affiliate RCMA). Hearing from our Affiliate Network has been key to present our community’s challenges and concerns in letters to Congress written by UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía, and also to understand that more needs to be done.

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To respond to this pandemic and to the disproportionate impact on Latinos’ health and economic well-being, we have launched our Esperanza/Hope Fund, an investment to provide dedicated resources to elevate a public health response, strengthen our nonprofit Affiliates’ resiliency in crisis, and continue to lead national advocacy to shape policy responses to the pandemic that include the Hispanic community. You can learn more about it here, and read below about our Affiliates work and why we are launching the Esperanza/Hope fund.


This health center Affiliate in Chicago is providing COVID-19 testing to their patients, and this week they shared some statistics with our health team: they have already tested more than 1,500 patients. Overall, 57% tested positive, which is nearly three times the statewide rate, and of those, roughly 500 are their patients. They attribute this explosion of infections in their area to multigenerational families living together in close quarters, where self-isolation is impossible; to low-wage workers who cannot shelter in place without sacrificing the ability to afford rent, utilities, and groceries; and to a shortage of community-based testing sites.


This UnidosUS Affiliate in San Rafael, California continues serving their vulnerable populations with a committed group of staff members who are in constant contact with their clients. They are contacting them to help them access resources and support, and during those calls they hear heartbreaking stories, as well as stories of determination. You can read those here:

Canal Alliance, a UnidosUS Affiliate in California, is sharing stories from clients on their website.
Canal Alliance, a UnidosUS Affiliate in California, is sharing stories from clients on their website.


At our Homestead (FL) Affiliate, they have been able to provide laptops for their families, which has in turn led to a parent engagement increase in their programs. They are also exploring the possibility of having a celebration for their graduating students in June, an event they’ve been hosting for 30 years. Their idea involves providing them with at least the dinner they would have otherwise had at the ceremony.


This UnidosUS Affiliate in Chicago focuses on housing counseling, financial and civic empowerment, and health and wellness. In a newsletter they sent mid-April, NWSHC shared that now all their agency operations are running remotely: “Our staff have remained more committed than ever to respond to the needs of the community. Over the past few weeks, we’ve gotten creative to provide our regular programs remotely. And we’ve provided dozens of families with more than $15,000 in emergency cash assistance.”


This Affiliate from Raleigh, NC, has shared a list of resources available to our community in North Carolina in the fronts of health, food, financials, child care, and more. They are also narrating the struggle stories they hear from their clients. One woman they heard from said: “It has affected us significantly. I am a single mother and had not worked for a long period and when I was about to resume work, all of this happened.”


We will continue bringing you updated information from our Affiliate Network in their efforts to combat this crisis. You can help them reach all members of our community by contributing to UnidosUS’s Esperanza/Hope Fund.

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