The hardships people in our community are facing came into full focus for me when, at the onset of this crisis, I began volunteering with the Emergency Rental Assistance program at LifeMoves, an amazing organization fighting homelessness and helping Bay Area residents secure and maintain stable housing year round. Once Shelter in Place went into effect, LifeMoves became inundated with requests related to the rental assistance program. I have been the initial point of contact for a lot of those people, determining their eligibility to even submit an application for the limited aid LifeMoves has to offer.  

Imagine having 4 kids, negative $70 in your bank account and little to no income for the foreseeable future. Imagine having a chronic health condition and no longer being able to afford your medication.  These and others like them are the stories of countless people I talk to every day at LifeMoves. Each time I leave, I can’t help but compare these experiences to my own and to that of most people I know, who are waiting this out in the comfort of their homes with luxuries like space, access to technology and healthcare, a large support network and, most importantly, the luxury of getting to go through the day without the trauma of constant, mounting financial stress and uncertainty. 

Fortunately, so many of us living in the Bay Area have the luxury of watching the fall out from COVID-19 from a safe distance. For those with steady employment and/or financial stability, adjusting to this situation has undoubtedly involved managing significant disruption to our daily lives; however, for the many, many people who can’t work from home and have lost their jobs due to mass business closure, protecting our community by staying home has required far more extreme sacrifices. This crisis is far from over and while some resources are available to help those most impacted, they don’t come close to scratching the surface of the need.

Many of the people I’ve spoken to through this program have explained their attempts to leverage every known resource out there, jumping through hoops, and waiting long periods of time only to end up with little or no relief. And while their desperation and fear is palpable, I’ve been deeply moved by the kindness and gratitude I’ve been met with in these interactions.  More times than I can count I’ve heard “even if you can’t help us, just talking to someone who cares means so much to me.” They’re struggling to put food on the table, facing potential homelessness, and they’re dealing with these threats to their basic needs largely alone, with nowhere left to turn for help. 

I am calling on all of us to step up and BE that help by getting money as quickly as possible into the hands of community members facing these challenges everyday. In collaboration with LifeMoves, we’ve determined the best way to do this is through Visa gift cards which can be distributed much more liberally and quickly than cash donations.

Each donation to this GoFundMe will go towards $100 Visa gift cards that LifeMoves will distribute to their network of nearly 10,000 Bay Area residents working towards long term housing stability and self-sufficiency. The LifeMoves case managers will decide the total amount each person/family receives based on the size of their household and the extent of their need. 

In our community, the disparity of wealth and resources is especially profound and now that I’ve witnessed the scale of it first hand, I can’t help but feel responsible to do all that I can to address it. If you have the means to do so, I hope that you will also find it in your heart to help our community through this. If we can redirect even just a FRACTION of the money from our canceled summer plans, dinners out, and other luxuries we are going without towards this effort, we can make a HUGE impact in people’s lives. As so many people in crisis have told me-ANYTHING helps. The more people this reaches the more people we can help, so I ask you to also consider sharing this with your network. 

Thank you so much for considering, contributing and sharing! Stay safe & healthy.
  • Donald Palmer 
    • $100 
    • 24 mos
  • Isaac Barom 
    • $562 
    • 24 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $75 
    • 24 mos
  • Paula Dumont 
    • $200 
    • 24 mos
  • Michael Schnall-Levin 
    • $250 
    • 24 mos
See all


Nina Olmstead 
Menlo Park, CA