Local organizations and nonprofits are working to address the needs of the international community and the undocumented community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The issue they’re facing right now is, of course, unemployment,” said Maria Herrera, executive director of the Spanish Speaking Community of Maryland.
Herrera said many people in the undocumented community work in positions that have been hit hard economically by the pandemic.
“They can’t collect unemployment,” she said. “They have an inability to collect any funds at this time. So they’re left with nothing.”
The Spanish Speaking Community of Maryland has two locations, one is Silver Spring and one in Frederick.
The organization works with the international community and offers immigration assistance, translation services, healthcare assistance and employment assistance.
They also help victims of domestic violence and have a partnership with Frederick County Public Schools.
Undocumented people aren’t eligible to receive unemployment or stimulus checks.
Many people in the undocumented community also don’t have healthcare, which can lead to a lot of fear about getting COVID-19. They fear, because of their legal status, seeking necessary medical attention.
Getting to a grocery store or a food bank can also present a problem because they both typically require transportation, which requires income.
The Spanish Speaking Community of Maryland is working with community organizations such as the Frederick Community Action Agency, Iglesia de Dios Comunitaria Internacional, the YMCA of Frederick County and the Ausherman Family Foundation to provide food, supplies and gift cards to people in need.
“We have tried to deliver as much food to the doorsteps as we possibly could and deliver food to areas where people can walk to get the food so that they do not have to incur the cost of transportation,” Herrera said.
The organization has distributed over 500 bags of food in recent weeks.
They have also been calling people who do not have medical assistance to see if they need help filling out applications and registering them with the Frederick Community Action Agency as well as calling families to see how they’re doing and what their immediate needs are.
Herrera said the nonprofit community has come together to see how they can best help people in need.
At this time, some of the biggest needs are personal hygiene items such as shampoo and soap and care items such as diapers and wipes.
“If anyone is available and willing to donate some of those things … that would be very, very helpful,” Herrera said.
Donations can be made to the Frederick Community Action Agency and they will then be distributed where they are needed.
Herrera said if people need help or have questions, they can reach out to the Spanish Speaking Community of Maryland.