North County organizations provide relief to immigrant families during COVID-19 pandemic
Together with local partners, North County Immigration and Citizenship Center (NCICC) launched the Neighbor Relief Project to assist families affected by COVID-19.
NCICC staff counsel out of work families to help them stay safe, avoid eviction, manage online schooling, and apply for resources. NCICC also has provided financial support to more than 60 local families for rent, utilities and food.
Since late March, NCICC’s DOJ-certified, bilingual staff members have checked in personally with more than 200 immigrant families in North County San Diego. Many of these families have at least one person out of work, if not more.
“During normal times, we provide legal immigration services and education,” says Sonya Williams, NCICC’s executive director. “However, our immigrant community is experiencing unprecedented job loss. Many of the hardworking immigrant families we work with live paycheck to paycheck, and job loss is devastating.”
Rancho Santa Fe Foundation, Leichtag Foundation, Coastal Community Foundation, Community Serve 365, Kingdom Builder Foundation, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, the City of Solana Beach, La Colonia de Eden Gardens, Casa de Amistad, Hansen Surfboards, and others are partnering with NCICC to help local families survive this crisis.
“What surprised me the most is how many people came together to help our students, clients and community,” says NCICC’s Goretty Enriquez. “This crisis brought so many North County partners together to help the most vulnerable.”
Chef Christophe, a new citizen, former NCICC client, and Del Mar Farmers Market favorite, donated home-cooked French meals and groceries to hungry families. Crust Pizzeria provided hot family meals. Local PTA moms who are struggling to homeschool their own kids organized food drives, distributed kids’ books and games, and spread the word.
“Working on the Neighbor Relief Project is an eye opener,” says Pedro Enriquiz, NCICC’s case manager. “I learned a lot about what our community is experiencing during this pandemic. I love serving as a bridge between our generous community partners and our neighbors who are struggling to provide for their families.”
“A single mom who lost her job as a dishwasher called to thank us,” Enriquez recounts. “Through her tears she said, ‘Now I know there are people who see me. They care, and they want me to succeed.’ This is something I will never forget.”
NCICC hopes the Neighbor Relief Project will empower local immigrant families to take the next step toward becoming U.S. citizens, whether it’s ESL classes, civics tutoring, or legal immigration services.
“We want to do more than help families survive this pandemic,” says Morgan Principi, NCICC’s director of Legal Services, “We want them to emerge stronger, more resilient, and more deeply connected to the community.”
Contributions to the COVID-19 Neighbor Relief Project are tax deductible. To find out how you can help, visit northcountycitizenship.org. — News release
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