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‘People are really suffering’: Black and Latino communities help their own amid coronavirus crisis

May 9, 2020

USA Today News Article by: Deborah Barfield Berry

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to take its toll on black and Latino communities, black and Latino churches, advocacy groups and civil rights activists have ramped up efforts to help their own, filling in gaps where they say the federal government and even some local governments have fallen short.

In California, Canal Alliance has been giving out food and masks every Tuesday to about 500 families in Marin County since March. Before the outbreak, it distributed food to about 250 families on Tuesdays.

Omar Carrera, CEO of the nonprofit community-based organization, said the need was clear. People the group served — mostly low-income Latino families and immigrants — needed money to buy basics like medicine, food and diapers. Many worked in lower-paying jobs, including landscaping, childcare, construction, restaurants and retail.

So Canal Alliance launched a fundraising drive aiming to collect $50,000. It raised more than $2 million. Throughout April, the group distributed the first $500,00 to more than 1,500 families. Most got a check for $350. The next distribution of $800,000 is expected this month, with each family getting $600.

“We were really giving the power to people to make that decision’’ about what they needed, Carrera said. “The gap in our community was access to cash.” Read rest of this article on USA Today.

Omar Carrera, CEO of the Canal Alliance, a nonprofit community-based organization in Marin County, California, distributed food May 6, 2020, to those in need. The group serves mostly low-income Latinos and immigrants and their families. Photo courtesy of Susan Adler. (Photo: Photo provided by Susan Adler, Canal Alliance)
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