During this critical time when we are trying to prevent the spread of covid-19 and protect our loved ones, we also have to rally around to support the unhoused people in our communities. Right now, over 5,000 people in Berkeley and Oakland are experiencing homelessness.
People who live in tent encampments are at higher-risk of getting the virus because they live in close quarters and lack hygiene resources. Also, the disease is more likely to be life-threatening for them due to poor nutrition, chronic health conditions, and lack of access to health care.
Volunteers at the Berkeley Free Clinic (BFC) have been visiting encampments to distribute supplies, and we noticed that residents at some encampments have no way to wash their hands. The cities of Berkeley and Oakland have installed hand washing stations at various encampments, but we've discovered that there are at least 10 encampments that they have overlooked. We are trying to raise money to buy 2 hand washing stations (~$90 each with tax) for each of those 10 encampments, as well as hand soap and hand sanitizer dispensers. We also want to buy as many tents as possible so that people can self-isolate. Any extra funds will go towards buying hand sanitizer bottles, water bottles, food, Tylenol, cold medicine, socks, masks, gloves, informational fliers, porta-potties, harm reduction supplies, transportation to care, and other things that encampment residents request.
Our healthcare system and local governments are nearly stretched to the limit due to this epidemic, so it is up to each one of us to make sure our neighbors have the resources they need to protect themselves. In times like these, it is more important than ever to practice radical compassion and love.
Please support our efforts by donating. Anything helps! I (Laura) am a volunteer at the Berkeley Free Clinic. The funds raised will be withdrawn by Cora Leigh Moss, the bookkeeper at the BFC and will go directly into the BFC's bank account. All of the funds raised will be used to supplies for encampments.
- Kim Cua
- Paul Kivel
- Levi Schmitt
- Noah N