During the 2020 summer, Levi’s® and the Giants teamed up to highlight and honor six nonprofits in our community who took action and made a difference for those most in need. While our world has changed in ways we could have never imagined, there remained one constant and that is the work so many in our communities did and are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The six organizations support and are a resource for veterans, homeless, victims of domestic violence, and those that need an extra hand. Each organization received a grant and reusable masks from Levi's. We thank all of these groups, and the individuals volunteering, for their perseverance and selflessness.
The mission of La Casa de las Madres is to respond to calls for help from domestic violence victims, of all ages, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The organization gives survivors the tools to transform their lives. They also seek to prevent future violence by educating the community and by redefining public perceptions about domestic violence.
Undoubtedly, La Casa’s greatest external challenge in recent history has been our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In statistical terms, studies show that global and national emergencies often correlate with a rise in intimate partner violence. While social distancing policies may protect against the spread of disease, staying at home with a dangerous partner may expose survivors to an increased chance of domestic violence. The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department reported an over 60% spike in domestic-violence bookings during the first week of the Shelter-In-Place Order. Therefore, La Casa has strived to keep core services open to guarantee there’s always a safe place for survivors of abuse in the Bay Area.
To combat this challenge, La Casa has adopted a range of robust measures to ensure they maintain essential services throughout the crisis including their 35-bed emergency shelter, two 24-hour hotlines, text line, and two women-only permanent supportive housing sites. At the organizational level, La Casa earned a designation as an “Essential Business” from the city government. Additionally, La Casa compiled over a hundred weekly food boxes (with enough fare for 5 full days) to feed the 135 formerly homeless women staying at the Hotel Verona and the Mary Elizabeth Inn. Altogether, La Casa assembled over 2,000 boxes spread across the first five months of the Shelter-In-Place Order (adding up to over 10,000 days worth of food). Finally, to promote public safety, La Casa closed their Drop-In Counseling Center to the public, assigned administrative employees to work from home, and implemented social-distancing and virus testing protocols at their shelter and Drop-In Counseling Center.
The coronavirus has also strongly influenced the demand for La Casa’s support services. During the first month of the Shelter-In-Place Order, their Text Line saw a 33% spike in activity. Hotline calls have remained consistent. The safety and support of an emergency domestic-violence shelter bed is an increasingly critical resource at a time when the lack of affordable housing makes it more difficult for survivors leaving their shelter to find stable lodging. No one should be forced to choose between a dangerous home and homelessness. La Casa opened its doors so no person would be forced to make that harrowing decision.
To learn more about La Casa de las Madres, visit www.lacasa.org
La Casa's dedicated staff and volunteers work to support La Casa’s clients through a range of activities that include crafting homemade masks, assembling food boxes for the formerly homeless women staying at two permanent supportive housing sites, and answering calls on crisis hotlines.
"As a new volunteer with La Casa, I was eager to begin supporting survivors of domestic violence in their healing journey. As the pandemic hit, I jumped at the opportunity to support survivors through La Casa's Text Line. The Text Line is an invaluable tool for our community where we can provide information about local resources, advice to survivor family members, and connect survivors to our support services. Especially now, when many people are not able to go outside of their home to seek assistance, the Text Line provides accessible support for those most in need." - current La Casa volunteer