VecinoAVecino Stories and Measurables by Marcela Slade 5.27.2020

Hello there! It’s me, Marcela Slade, current event-program coordinator and art director of Abundance NC. This is what I have been up to lately with Abundance NC:

About 3 weeks ago we launched the Neighbor2Neighbor / VecinoAVecino program with our partners: the Chatham News + Record, the Caremongering Pittsboro Facebook groupChatham Trades , Absolute Realty Company and Realty World Carolina Properties. Bill Horner III, publisher and editor of the Chatham News + Record, had seen a similar program being implemented in Miami reported by the Miami Herald. The program connects neighbors who have resources and time with neighbors in need.

So far we have helped about 45 families. Approximately 75 people signed up who CAN HELP and about 30 of them have been paired with someone in need of help.

. ..mostly we have connected neighbors in need with neighbors willing to buy and deliver groceries AND pay utility bills directly…and connecting neighbors with other resources that provide help.

Since Neighbor2Neighbor / VecinoAVecino is a program that grows daily, adapting to the people in need and those able to help.. . .we have come up with the Neighbor2Neighbor / VecinoAVecino FUNDRAISER to address what people need most.

With the funds, Abundance NC will continue to sustain people who need groceries, help paying utility bills and distribute the help equally with those who apply or call me, Marcela at 919.448.4888, I speak Spanish fluently. All information is confidential.

One lady called me to help her fill out the form for the Chatham Solidarity Fund. We spoke on the phone and I accessed an application through my computer while she responded to the questions. She had no access to the form. No email address. She previously rented a room but due to the covid-19 orders, has no work and has since, moved in with her daughter. She also asked me to send her a food stamps form by mail, since she is 62 and feels she shouldn’t go out. Her daughter doesn’t let her go out much.

There was one man who needed help with everything. He had lost his job over a year ago due to his heart operation and now was less likely to work due to his high risk status regarding covid. He needed groceries.

Several neighbors in need have tested positive for covid-19 or have had children who have tested positive. They apply to the program because they can’t leave the house. They have no work, no groceries. One lady needed toilet paper, tylenol for adults and 2 kids, lots of water and groceries.

Another man called and was sad about his sisters death the night before, you could tell he was sick but also the mourn in his voice. She had passed from covid complications at 1am, lived 2 hours away from Chatham County. He too had tested positive for covid-19 and needed groceries. He said: “.. .fruit, watermelon, melon, banana .. ..rice, honey, lime.. . .”

One Sunday, Tami Schwerin, was paired to take a 10 year old his Birthday Cake (he asked for a “tres leches” cake). A man we had helped with groceries mentioned his boy asked for a cake on his birthday. We got permission to photograph the delivery of the cake the day before and here it is to share with you!

We had an older couple from Pittsboro drive out to Siler City to deliver groceries to a family in need. The woman who helped texted me about how grateful the family had been and how despite a language barrier, she let them know she was delighted to help. She is one of several neighbors who will continue to sustain this program on a regular basis.

There are still many people in need of help and many willing and able to help. If you are interested in the application to help or need help: APPLY NOW  / !APLICA YA!
If you would like to sustain the program through the Neighbor2Neighbor / VecinoAVecino FUNDRAISER, CLICK HERE. Together we can get through this!
Other Measurables

Some people in need have tested positive for covid-19 (approx. 4) and have younger kids, some kids are also sick (approx. 4). About 3 teenagers with Covid-19 (approx. 3).. .other people had lost someone due to covid (approx. 2) others have other sickness TB, heart problem and are more at risk during this time. Most lost their jobs or are working very little hours and can’t pay bills, rent and food. Some have had to move in with family. Most people helped live in Siler City, NC.

…raised and paid $600 towards utility bills by many neighbors who want to help but don’t want to deal with logistics behind groceries or paying bills.
…helped about 5 families complete Chatham Solidarity Fund application due May 20, funds will be distributed in June 2020.
…mailed Department of Social Services (DSS) applications to about 15 families. The DSS Crisis Intervention Program helps pay heating and cooling bills. At least one person in the household has to be a US Citizen and have a valid social security number to qualify. I send these forms in Spanish when needed, including notes to clarify questions that might seem hard to understand.
We have spread the word by designing and printing postcards/flyers in Spanish and English and distributing them outside the DSS informational table AND MOSTLY through El Vinculo in Siler City. Ilana Dubester has been very helpful spreading the word about the program. She has sent text messages to people in need and I have received many contacts through this initiative.
We also have posted through Abundance NC social media pages and those of our partners. I have been interviewed by Chatham News + Record, Que Pasa and Enlace Latino NC about the program and those will shine light on the program too. Please spread the word about Neighbor2Neighbor / VecinoAVecino!