Our Commitment to Our Community
The need for immediate and long-term support in our community has never been greater due to the COVID-19 crisis. We are moving quickly to help those who are hardest hit, including restaurant and service-industry workers, the undocumented community, and at-risk youth. We’re also providing support to local organizations on the frontlines of the pandemic, focusing on those directly serving vulnerable populations who are at risk of food insecurity, experiencing housing instability, or struggling to afford basic necessities.
Our response to COVID-19 will continue to evolve based on the needs of our partners and the local community.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit the Seattle area, thousands of restaurants suspended operations, closed and let go of their staff.
This is financially devastating for workers. Many rely on every paycheck and do not have the money to pay for necessities now. They couldn’t afford to wait for federal stimulus payments or unemployment benefits, which could take weeks or months to kick in.
To serve those who make a living serving others, we partnered with #allinseattle, Seattle Foundation, UpTogether, and a coalition of restaurants, foundations, and individuals, to launch #ThePlateFund, an initiative that’s providing immediate, one-time payments of $500 to the most impacted restaurant-industry workers in King County. For many, these payments helped “bridge the gap” between the time they received their last paychecks and when they received government support. For others, this may be the only money they received.
In three weeks, #ThePlateFund raised more than $7.1 million to provide 14,200 restaurant and service-industry workers in King County with immediate financial relief.
With the generosity of the community, those hardest-hit by COVID-19 are receiving crucial assistance, as two-thirds of #ThePlateFund recipients live in a ZIP code classified as economically distressed by King County.
To ensure that assistance continues to get to the most vulnerable and hardest hit communities, #ThePlateFund has formed partnerships with El Centro de la Raza, Falis Community Service and Asian Counseling and Referral Service. Each organization is helping direct payments to affected workers within their respective networks, including those who may be undocumented or unbanked, and may not be eligible for government assistance.
As of Sunday, April 26, all relief assistance is available exclusively through our community partners or using codes that applicants receive from their employers or former employers. This will allow us to continue to focus on reaching people who are in the greatest need, including those who may not be eligible for government assistance due to immigration status or other issues.
We want to thank all of #ThePlateFund partners for their contributions, which have brought relief to thousands in need.
With unemployment skyrocketing and schools closed, many families in Washington State are struggling to afford food. We are addressing this issue by providing support to food banks and local organizations directly serving populations at risk of food insecurity, including:
- Northwest Harvest: Distributing healthy food across the state to communities in need
- Food Lifeline: Delivering food relief to agency and food bank partners across western Washington
- FareStart: Producing and delivering more than 350,000 prepared meals a week to help alleviate hunger and food insecurity in King County
- Rainier Valley Foodbank: Delivering food supplies directly to the homes of those in need
- Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority Foundation: Helping restaurants maintain their staff and provide culturally competent meals to community members in need
HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
People experiencing homelessness or housing instability are some of the most vulnerable populations in our community during this crisis. We are proud to support our nonprofit partners to help increase shelter capacity, maintain amplified hygiene and sanitation practices, and ensure continued service provision during the pandemic to connect individuals with housing. Organizations we’re supporting include:
- Mary’s Place: Supporting increased demand for food, daytime children’s programs, remote learning, and medical supplies
- YouthCare: Providing essential, life-saving services for young people throughout the crisis
- New Horizons: Keeping shelter services open to ensure youth and young adults experiencing homelessness have a safe and caring place to stay during the crisis
- Chief Seattle Club: Maintaining essential services for members of Seattle’s Native American community experiencing homelessness or in need of support
Individuals and families are experiencing higher trauma, instability, and vulnerability due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are supporting regional nonprofits to stabilize our neighbors facing crisis, such as:
- International Rescue Committee: Helping families impacted by layoffs or hiring freezes, and minimizing the impact of reduced access to essential services provided by IRC through virtual and online services
- YWCA: Providing online job training courses, scheduling home food deliveries, and maintaining access to food and hygiene necessities
- Building Changes and Africatown International: Providing access to flexible funding resources to support basic needs (housing, food, utility payments, etc.) through an Emergent Needs fund modeled after the King County Centralized Diversion Fund.
- Believe in Students: Supporting the use and evaluation of Edquity, a technology-based application that facilitates emergency assistance and provides guidance to community college students in King County facing a financial or housing crisis that would prevent them from staying enrolled in college
- ReWA: Supporting immigrant and refugee families virtually through counseling, ESL classes, early childhood education, and more