How Southwest Human Development is supporting Valley communities during COVID-19

The coronavirus crisis has worsened the challenges that many young children and families in need are facing. Among the many struggles, some families have lost their jobs or have had their work hours reduced creating financial hardships, most have lost the child care services they depend upon to go to work, and some are balancing work from home and life with children and other family members at home all day.

Since the beginning, Southwest Human Development has been working diligently to help the most vulnerable families in our community. In addition to continuing to provide all 40 programs and services, Southwest Human Development has organized several efforts to support families across the Valley during these unprecedented times.

COVID-19 Basic Needs Drive

As parents and caregivers find it harder to access and afford essentials, Southwest Human Development launched its COVID-19 Basic Needs Drive, a drive that provides basic needs items for parents and caregivers. Through the campaign’s online shopping cart, donors can purchase basic needs supplies like diapers, baby formula, cleaning/sanitizing supplies and other packages that Southwest Human Development will deliver to the community.

COVID-19 Family Assistance Fund

With the help of several corporate and foundation partners, Southwest Human Development established a COVID-19 Family Assistance Fund to help families who are struggling financially due to the crisis. Through this fund, $170,000 in financial support has been distributed to 184 families to help with rent and utility assistance, as well as basic needs support. Donations to this fund are being accepted online at swhd.org/give.

“Grab & Go” Meals and Basic Needs Supplies

To complement the COVID-19 Basic Needs Drive and the COVID-19 Family Assistance Fund, Southwest Human Development also set up a “Grab & Go” Meals and Basic Needs Supplies distribution at Educare Arizona on weekday mornings from 7-9 a.m. Each morning, free meals as well as supplies such as diapers, baby wipes and formula are provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Over 9,000 meals have been distributed so far to local families. Los Sombreros, a local Mexican restaurant, also did their part by generously donating 300 burritos as a special treat for families and even helped with distribution this past Wednesday, April 29.

COVID-19 Fund for Early Care and Education Programs

In addition to the difficulties families were experiencing, Southwest Human Development knew the child care community was struggling, too. Many child care centers have had to close altogether and some that were able to remain open were reporting enrollment as low as only 20%. In partnership with the Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program, Southwest Human Development started the COVID-19 Fund for Early Care and Education Programs. After an overwhelming response from child care centers and home-based providers across Maricopa County, Southwest Human Development was able to fund 38 financial support requests totaling more than $171,000.

The Phoenix community is fortunate to have the support of our neighbors, companies, nonprofits and other community organizations to help us all get through these uncertain times. For families with young children who are looking to speak with an early childhood specialist to find community resources or support, Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline remains open to help. Parents, caregivers and professionals can call or text the Birth to Five Helpline at 877-705-KIDS (5437). Experts are available Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.