Canal Alliance plays a critical role in ensuring the health and safety of immigrants and their families during times of crisis. Yet never has this been more necessary than during the coronavirus pandemic, which is taking a devastating toll on the lives and livelihoods of Latino immigrants and their families.
With a deep commitment to providing the services most needed by Latino immigrants, we pivoted quickly to offer 100% of our services remotely. By innovating quickly and advocating for needed resources, we are also leading efforts to address the most urgent needs arising in the community.
Because existing services offered in the county to address the virus and its impacts didn’t serve the unique needs of the Latino immigrant population, Canal Alliance quickly implemented a comprehensive response to address the disproportionate impact of pandemic on the Latino immigrant population.
We implemented social distancing and hygiene protocols for our weekly food pantry, which now provides groceries to a record 500 families each week.
Our Social Services team is on the front lines of the crisis, responding to hundreds of phone calls each week. Our team helps clients access support and assistance in areas including financial and rental assistance, unemployment application assistance, and more. This team also provides a first level response to address elevated levels of stress and trauma, and makes referrals to Canal Alliance behavioral health specialists for clients who require more intensive care.
In partnership with the County of Marin and MarinHealth we offered free coronavirus testing for Canal residents for 10 weeks from May to July. While testing is now being conducted by Marin Community Clinics, we continue to provide case management support and resources for community members who test positive for the virus.
We have hired Promotores de Salud (health promoters) to provide health education and outreach in the Canal neighborhood.
To curb the rate of infection in the community, we hired five bilingual community-based contact tracers, all of whom who have been trained by UCSF and work in collaboration with the Marin County Department of Public Health.
We reallocated internal resources and launched a new Financial Assistance Program to connect community members to financial resources, including those from our own Client Support Fund. Through a new partnership with the Family Independence Initiative, we are able to quickly get cash to families through direct bank deposit services.
Because we knew the community would experience devastating financial challenges due to loss of jobs and wages, we launched our own Client Support Fund immediately after the pandemic hit. To date, more than 1,600 households and funders have generously contributed $2.2M, and we’ve distributed those funds directly to 2,000+ households. Funds are provided with no restrictions to allow families to purchase groceries, diapers, medications and pay for other urgent needs.
Our Immigration Legal Services also pivoted immediately and now operates as a virtual law firm. The team continues to provide legal representation and consultation, conducts extensive legal outreach and education on topics including Know Your Rights and Public Charge, and provides local advocacy with law enforcement and local government.
In addition to addressing the most pressing needs currently facing the community, we also maintain our commitment to supporting youth and adult students to pursue their long-term goals for education and career. Our education and career programs are all now offered remotely.
We’ve addressed the digital divide for youth in UP!, our college access and success program, by providing students with chromebooks and wifi hotspots, and the program now supports 93 students in grades 6 – 12 through virtual tutoring, social-emotional learning and leadership development. UP! also supports 58 college students, all of whom have received scholarships from the Canal Alliance scholarship fund and continue to receive case management support from UP! staff.
Our Adult ESL Program is piloting a new project this fall to offer ESL courses online, and we have also now resumed our career education program in partnership with College of Marin. While we continue to offer training and certification in the construction industry, we are also exploring additional training programs in industries with a high demand for workers and that provide living wages and career-path employment.
Latinos and their families are among those most impacted by all aspects of this crisis, and will be among the last to recover.
We are committed to providing the resources and support that the community needs to survive this crisis, yet we cannot do this work without the generous support of our community.
Please make a donation to support our critical work. Thank you.
Stories from the Front Lines
Canal Alliance staff members are responding to an unprecedented need for support and assistance among clients and community members. We’re pleased to share stories that inspire and motivate us to continue to work creatively to address the community’s most urgent needs. Visit canalalliance.org/stories-from-the-frontlines for a full list of stories.
With Gratitude to our Generous Donors
We are deeply grateful to the hundreds of individuals, businesses, organizations, and funders who have generously supported our efforts to ensure that immigrant families have the services and resources they need to weather this crisis.
Help us Spread the Word
Please consider sharing a link to Canal Alliance’s donation page with your network of friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues through one of these avenues:
- Create a Facebook fundraiser – Directions can be found here
- Post on Nextdoor about Canal Alliance, including a link to our donation page: donate.canalalliance.org
- Email your contacts about Canal Alliance, including a link to our donation page: donate.canalalliance.org
Thank you for being a champion of immigrants!