Responding to Families’ Needs Amid the Pandemic

It’s remarkable how much has changed in just a few short weeks. 

We sense that the world has transformed in profound ways, yet we are uncertain about what the future holds. 

This uncertainty and fear is magnified for CWEE families, who often struggle to make financial ends meet in the best of times. Our participants and alumni — like so many others in our community — have lost their jobs or seen their hours cut and aren’t sure how they will pay their bills. 

The moms and dads we serve are used to living under stress — it’s never easy to live in poverty. But Covid-19 is putting unprecedented strain on CWEE families. 

The first priority for the CWEE team, which has been working virtually since March 16, is to get in touch with each of our participants and alumni to check in and assess each family’s needs. 

During the first week, we reached 77% percent of our current participants. We are also pivoting our employment services model while continuing to support job seekers with leads and expanded retention efforts.  

At CWEE, we have never been more grateful for our community of support. Many of you have reached out to see how you can support our participants — thank you. Our greatest need is for flexible financial donations that we can use to support our participants over the next few months. 

Here’s a snapshot of what CWEE families are facing:

  • With schools and child care centers closed, families have increased costs for food, diapers and household cleaning supplies. Covering these additional costs have left many parents unable to meet all of their monthly expenses. 
  • Many CWEE families live in unstable housing situations and/or share housing with another family. Shelters are not seen as a safe option during the pandemic, leaving families with even fewer housing options.
  • Families report struggling to support their children’s learning at home. Many lack the technology (internet access and a computer) to connect to online learning opportunities and classroom assignments. 
  • Families also report colds and flu-like symptoms and that they are having a harder time managing seasonal illness. (No CWEE participant or staff member has tested positive for Covid-19.) Access to doctor appointments is limited and families lack funds for over-the-counter medicines that are not covered by Medicaid. 

Like the rest of us, CWEE participants are struggling to adjust to our new reality and mourning the loss of daily routines and in-person connections. 

We are doing our best to support each family and have shifted our efforts to ensure that we stay in touch with our participants and help to meet their basic needs throughout this crisis. 

We will keep you updated via our e-newsletter and social media channels. Thank you again for your support. 

In gratitude and good health, 

Katy Hamilton, CEO