TERLINGUA—The Big Bend COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund was set up to help Brewster County residents deal with hardships caused by the pandemic. Volunteers from Alpine and Terlingua started the fund through Big Bend Citizens Alliance—a Terlingua-based non-profit organization.
The first round of applications has been processed and awards are going out. We express special thanks to Porter’s Thriftways, West Texas National Bank, Out West Feed & Supply, and the Big Bend Chamber of Commerce. Our sincerest gratitude to everyone who so generously donated!
We are now ready for round #2 of applications. The deadline for the second round of applications is May 15th. The first round issued funds to 54 qualified individuals and 3 local nonprofits. The Salvation Army, Alpine Unit made an offer to pay electric, water and gas bills for the applicants up to $150 each.The fund is taking online applications for assistance at bigbendaid.org. The Marathon post office, Terlingua Crisis Center, WesTex Community Credit Union, and Alpine Community Credit Union are serving as pick-up and drop-off locations for printed applications.
To donate online, visit bigbendaid.org. Checks made payable to Big Bend Citizens Alliance with “pandemic relief fund” in the memo field can be mailed to PO Box 202, Terlingua, TX 79852.
We have reached our first fundraising goal of $10,000 and are awed by everyone’s generosity so far! But for every dollar we’ve received, we’ve had a dollar requested by someone in need. The food pantry in Alpine had about 40% more clients at its first distribution day this month. In Terlingua last weekend, the crisis center gave out as many food boxes in four hours as it usually distributes in an entire month. These are signs that the level of need in our county is HUGE and unprecedented. And with the pandemic still in its infancy, this marathon will only get tougher in the coming months.
About one in four people in our county depended on the tourism industry, which has essentially shut down to slow the pandemic’s spread. The rug has been pulled out from under some of the most vulnerable people in our county, who were already living paycheck to paycheck. Please chip in to the Big Bend Pandemic Relief Fund as much you can, as often as you can. Encourage others to do the same. Every donation will help someone in our community pay for basic living expenses during this crisis.
The application deadline for our first round of funding is April 15, and we expect to make our first distribution before the start of May. If you want to apply but miss the April 15 deadline, we will consider another round of applications starting on May 15.
Volunteers and donors are needed to help with a medical supply drive for healthcare workers and essential service workers during the pandemic. Medical supplies are being collected by a group of relief fund volunteers and concerned citizens from the Big Bend Area Supply Assistance group. Supplies will be distributed to healthcare providers and essential workers as needed.
Needed supplies are:
- Masks, N 95 and N 100, N 45 will help if the others are not available
- Surgical face masks
- Non-latex medical grade gloves (not food service type)
- Paper or thin plastic disposable gowns
- Non-latex gloves for essential workers: grocery store clerks, police and other non-medical service providers
- Fabric masks which can help prolong the life of N 95 masks, and can be worn by the general public to slow the spread of coronavirus. The CDC offers a guide to making fabric masksfor anyone interested in joining a local group of volunteers sewing masks for others.
Any of these supplies that are unused and taking up space in your home or garage would be greatly appreciated. Pack masks in zip-lock bags. Our healthcare and service providers put their lives at risk for all of us. We owe it to them to ensure they have all the supplies they need to stay safe.
Please contact Cathy at email@example.com or 832.314.8103 to volunteer to help or to arrange for dropping off donations.
Relief fund launched to help Brewster County residents during the pandemic
TERLINGUA—The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the Big Bend region’s tourism-dependent economy and strained limited resources. Once the pandemic reaches here, the situation will only get worse. The Big Bend COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Fund will help Brewster County residents recover from hardships caused by the pandemic. Volunteers from Alpine and Terlingua started the fund through Big Bend Citizens Alliance—a Terlingua-based non-profit organization.
“This pandemic is both a reminder and a test of our connectedness, which we can only pass by supporting each other,” said Megan Wilde, the relief fund’s Alpine team leader. “We hope everyone who can will chip in to help friends and neighbors who have lost their livelihoods because of the pandemic.”
Flattening the curve in the Big Bend region meant flattening the economy. More than a quarter of our population depends on the tourism industry, which has shut down to slow down the pandemic’s spread. Mandatory and voluntary closures have hurt mostly hourly service workers living paycheck to paycheck. Restaurant and hotel workers, retail salespeople, tour guides, hairdressers, massage therapists, and college students have suddenly lost jobs during the peak of tourism season.
The relief fund will distribute funding to local non-profit organizations that meet basic needs, as well as directly to individuals whose needs are not being met through available channels. Many of our region’s small non-profit organizations have taken financial blows from thrift store closures, event cancellations, and decreased donations. The relief fund’s fundraising efforts will support their limited staff and grow their capacity as demands for their services surge.
Existing local non-profits and benefit programs are not set up to immediately help everyone who lost their livelihood recently. Many people are waiting weeks to even apply for unemployment and other benefits. Hospitality workers who lost jobs in March do not yet qualify for many low-income programs. Economic stimulus checks will not arrive for weeks or possibly months. The relief fund will help fill these gaps in assistance.
As the pandemic and economic crisis evolve, the relief fund will adjust the allocation of funding to meet the greatest needs in our communities and to complement available assistance programs. These distribution decisions will be made by a committee of volunteer leaders from Alpine, Marathon, and Terlingua. All individual requests will be vetted by trustworthy, trained volunteers. The fund will use a points-based system to prioritize where funding will have the greatest impact.
Besides distributing funds locally, the relief fund has a website, bigbendaid.org, which offers a “Find Help” directory of resources. People can find local groups that offer assistance with paying bills, free legal advice about eviction, cash grants for hospitality workers, and many more sources of support.
The relief fund is now taking online applications for direct assistance at bigbendaid.org. The Marathon post office, Terlingua Crisis Center, WesTex Community Credit Union, and Alpine Community Credit Union are serving as pick-up and drop-off locations for printed applications.
To donate to the relief fund online, visit bigbendaid.org or our crowdfunding campaign at fundrazr.com/bigbendC-19. Checks made payable to Big Bend Citizens Alliance with “pandemic relief fund” in the memo field can be mailed to PO Box 202, Terlingua, TX 79852 or deposited at West Texas National Bank branches in Alpine and Terlingua using the drive-through during normal business hours.
For more information about the relief fund, visit bigbendaid.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voicemail at (432) 294-5698.