How our programs and operations have been affected by the pandemic.
The COVID-19 Pandemic is certainly something none of us expected. As the crisis has affected so many things about our day to day lives, it has also affected our work at Amirah. In an effort to be as transparent as possible, we want to give you an update on how things have changed for us financially and with our programs.
The chart above shows giving by month for 2018, 2019, and 2020. As is shown in the chart, we have saw a dip in donations since social distancing was established mid-March, but have begun to see an increase again over the summer months. As we are 100% funded by donors, we are grateful that so many have continued to give even in the midst of this pandemic. In April of 2020, we applied and received funding through the Paycheck Protection Program through the SBA. We anticipate that these funds will be forgiven, but have not yet applied for forgiveness.
In March we decided to postpone our biggest annual fundraiser, Voices of Hope. We plan to have an all-day online fundraiser on October 1st, marking the fifth year of our first safe home opening.
We continue to see the trend of philanthropic dollars and grants being directed to frontline efforts, defined as services for those directly impacted by the pandemic (hospitals, clinics, food pantries, homeless shelters, etc. – data can be found here). This definition of “frontline” bars us from eligibility for many grants being generated to address COVID-19.
In our North Shore safe home, we have had to completely change our approach to services for the survivors who are in our care. All appointments for sobriety meetings, psychological services, doctors’ appointments, and therapeutic services have had to move to online resources. External community resources, which include NA and AA groups, GED classes, job preparation courses, financial education, college preparatory classes, and day therapeutic programs have now been cancelled due to the pandemic, requiring our staff to find replacement resources online quickly for as many of these needed supports as possible. For supports that do not have an equivalent online replacement, our staff are creating replacement programming for each woman in our safe home.
As you can imagine, this shift has been difficult for everyone in society, but for those who have PTSD and mental health disorders related to trauma, this shift has been taxing and triggering. Our staff are working harder than ever to provide support to each survivor who is in our care, helping them to maintain their sobriety and feel like they are working towards something rather than being put in a stand-still.
As we do not have access to the correctional facilities where we were operating Outreach Groups due to social distancing, our Outreach Survivor Leader is creating an online support group for any survivor who wants to participate and needs some extra support during these times.
Essentially, there is no aspect of Amirah that has gone untouched by this pandemic, but we are as committed as ever to the women we serve. We hope we can count on your support to make sure these women can continue their recovery journeys and find lasting hope at Amirah.