BY MAURA TAYLOR
Self Help, Inc.
Self Help, Inc has been providing emergency financial aid as a safety net for northern New Mexicans in crisis for decades, and is dedicated to maintaining this vital service during the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect a great increase in need in the near future as lack of work, loss of childcare, and medical costs for the uninsured impact northern New Mexico families already living on the edge.
Self Help will continue to work with people in need and provide as much aid as possible, but we will need to expand our capacity. To meet this need, we are currently in need of additional funding and several more volunteers. Our community’s support means the world to us, and we invite people to channel nervous energy into action during this stressful time.
As Self Help participates in ongoing efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic, most of our operations will be occurring remotely. This alone should not significantly impact client services, since most of our clients work with us primarily via phone. However, we are already experiencing high call volumes for our small team, and we’ll need help responding to an expected wave of additional calls.
We need volunteers to perform client intake and keep lines of communication open with anxious callers in need. Volunteers will work with us via phone, email, and 1-2 Google apps (namely Forms and Sheets) to help us respond to these needs, talking to clients and relaying information to our staff.
Volunteers will complete a brief remote training and be asked to sign a confidentiality form. For community members who are moved to help neighbors in crisis, and who have strong listening and boundaries skills, this is a great way to get involved while still maintaining social distance per CDC guidelines. To sign up, email Maura at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most importantly, in order to help as many people as possible, Self Help needs to increase the funds we have available for financial aid—our goal is to prevent as many evictions and utility disconnections as we can, so that northern New Mexico families don’t lose necessities like heat and water during an already difficult time. Thus, donations are of extremely high priority at this moment. Much as we did when providing aid after the Cerro Grande Fire, Self Help hopes to increase our capacities through both smart fundraising and broad community support. We do not expect an increase in overhead or operating costs during the pandemic, so additional funds will go exactly where they’re needed the most. Donations can be given online at selfhelpla.org/donate, or made out to Self Help, Inc and mailed to us at 2390 North Road, Los Alamos, NM 87544.
Founded in Los Alamos in 1969, Self Help, Inc provides life-changing financial aid and resource information across four northern New Mexico counties. Self Help implements a variety of local programs aimed at helping people in need, from seed money grants to a confidential resource information line. However, its largest program is the Emergency Basic Needs program, which provides timely microgrants to families in crisis; its goal is to prevent neighbors from having to go without basic needs such as heat, shelter, and medical care.