San Diego community leaders have taken immediate action to bring relief to those in the LGBTQ community who need it most. The Imperial Court de San Diego has led the way by implementing an Emergency Food Voucher program. The program initially started by offering relief to local entertainers and bar employees who have been hit especially hard by the state’s business closure mandate due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Imperial Court has now expanded the offer of $50 Ralphs gift cards to the elderly. In less than a week, gift cards in the amount of $14,200 have already been distributed. Big Mike Phillips is one of several volunteers helping with the voucher program distribution. He says, “I have lived in San Diego more than 30 years and I’ve never experienced anything like this. The people we are helping have been so appreciative of this small gift and I am humbled to partner with the Imperial Court; $50 is a lifeline for so many of our LGBTQ community members in this scary time for everyone.” The voucher program can only continue with more donations. If you would like to support the purchase of grocery gift cards, click here https://bit.ly/DonationForGroceryCards
There is also help being offered for laid-off employees in the hospitality industry. Breakfast Republic in Mission Valley is handing out pre-packaged dinners each day between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., with a rotating menu including meals with meat loaf, roasted chicken and lasagna. Staff says they’ll keep handing out the dinners as long as they can. A $10 contribution is suggested for the meals, but workers struggling to afford food during the coronavirus pandemic can take a meal for free with no questions asked. “If you can afford more, then buy an extra one and ‘pay it forward,’ and we’ll ensure that the next laid-off worker receives their meal for free,” the Rise & Shine Hospitality Group explained in a Facebook post.
Mama’s Kitchen continues operating as an “essential business” under the governor’s shelter-in-place order and is part of the county’s emergency response efforts. Home meal deliveries will continue with additional safety procedures and volunteers can work during this time. However, the on-site pantry for low-income HIV-positive clients is closed. Those who are registered with the pantry can enroll in the home delivered meal service in the meantime.
Being Alive San Diego is limiting in-person visits for only clients in need of new AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) enrollment and PrEP. The state of California has extended all ADAP applications until June 30. If your ADAP enrollment has lapsed, renewal can be done with a phone call to the office at 619-291-1400. The recreation program, yoga classes, HIV 101 course, and Daniel’s Market are all suspended for the month of April.
The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has been overwhelmed by the immediate increase in claims filed because of pandemic-related closures. The EDD is extending staff resources to keep up with the demand. For faster service, use UI Online to file a claim, certify for benefits, and get payment information. Visit https://www.edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/UI_Online.htm
Cal Fresh Food Stamp benefits have not changed. If you are currently receiving benefits, they will be delivered to your card on the normal schedule.