Undocumented families need your help during the pandemic and the system has failed them! 2,772 undocumented families in New Jersey were promised help from a Pandemic Relief Fund but it never actually materialized. Even after these nearly three thousand families risked exposure by coming forward and sharing their personal information. This is a travesty and we need to fix it! Together we must help.
While the pandemic has harmed everyone, undocumented families suffer in the silence of our shadow economy, caring for our elderly and children, washing our restaurant dishes, cutting our lawns, pumping our gas. Yet, our undocumented friends are not eligible for state and federal programs that benefit the rest of us. They have nowhere to turn and many are in a critical struggle to keep their families healthy and safe.
How did we get here?
The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund (NJPRF) started with good intentions! In July, they provided emergency cash cards to 463 families, benefiting thousands of men, women, and children in central NJ. Word of this effort spread and undocumented families and individuals felt they could trust NJPRF as a source of the dire assistance they desperately needed. Impacted families lined the streets in the late summer, as a coalition of schools, health centers, churches and legal clinics from across central NJ (Avenel, Edison, Flemington, Hackettstown, Jamesburg, Lakewood, Metuchen, New Brunswick, Highland Park, Perth Amboy, Plainfield, Pleasantville, and Union City) banded together to pre-qualify 2,774 families for one-time gift cards. (NJPRF promised $500 for families of 1-2 and $1,000 for larger families.)
It wasn't until early September, after this coalition of organizations had promised so many families financial help, that the NJPRF notified them there was not enough money. In fact, instead of funds to help 2,774 families they actually only had enough for TWO. The coalition is left with 2,772 families in desperate need of aid and the small community organizations that provide ongoing support to these families are left with nothing but broken promises.It's impossible to quantify the disappointment and distrust that this situation has caused and the potential peril it has put already precarious families in. We receive daily phone calls and visits from desperate families checking on the status of their promised aid.
You can Help! Donate and provide this much-needed help to undocumented families in central NJ!
We are committed to making good on the promises made by NJPRF to these 2,772 families, and we are asking for the community’s support in funding $500-$1000 gift cards for each of these families. We believe that with a combination of philanthropic and individual gifts, we will be able to raise the $2 million that will make this situation right. If you aren't in a position to donate, PLEASE share this effort with anyone around you! We need to make this right.
Even if you have already given to NJ Pandemic Relief Fund, please donate here to answer the desperate cries of our neighbors. Distribution will be managed through the same organizations NJPRF entrusted with the first round, and will be facilitated by DIRE Support Services, a program of Churches Improving Communities, a central NJ-based non-profit.
Classis New Brunswick Community Development Corporation, doing business as Churches Improving Communities, is a 501(c)3 non-profit community development corporation (tax ID: 45-2053473). All CIC projects are non-discriminatory and are open to the public. Learn more at ImprovingNJ.org.