A Simple Averting of Crisis
The consequences of the current COVID-19 pandemic have been vast and various. Jason works at a super market that recently increased his work hours to full-time, due to increased staffing needs brought about by the COVID-19 situation. The added income was most welcome until he learned that the extra dollars meant he would lose his Medi-Cal Health Insurance. Jason’s mother, Angie, learned of Young & Healthy and called for help. Our insurance advocate was able to help him switch to a Covered California Health Plan. Better income and insurance…a win-win situation! When all was taken care of, Jason’s mom called our staff, saying, “I’ve never met you in person, but I don’t know how my family would be able to sleep without you. You’ve made it easier for me to see my son go to work.”
COVID-19 Domino Effect
The Chicas family has always worked hard. Raul had a job and his wife Sylvia had two jobs. That income allowed them to qualify for a Covered California health plan and they never missed a monthly premium payment…until the Coronavirus hit. Sylvia lost one of her jobs and within a few weeks neither she, nor her husband, could work at ANY job, as they both tested positive for COVID-19. Worse yet, their 3-year-old daughter, who originally tested negative for the virus, began having symptoms. At the very moment that they needed their health insurance most, they couldn’t afford to pay for it. In record time, our case manager and insurance outreach specialist worked together to assist the family that same day by making some income changes to their Covered CA enrollment. Their daughter is now also qualified for Medi-Cal coverage.
None of us could have imagined the domino effect that this virus would create. Join us in wishing the Chicas family a speedy recovery.
So Close and Yet So Far
None of us really love the current stay at home orders, but for some, it is far more than just an inconvenience. Our staff is calling our families to check in. One such call reached a mother of four children, who has no car. She was not able to pick-up food for her children, available via the PUSD school lunch program. The saying, “so close and yet so far” comes to mind. This mom must certainly feel desperate…food service is available and yet not accessible. Our case manager was able to coordinate with other community services which will do home food delivery. Food insecurity is a harsh reality for this mom, made more acute by the current crisis. While this mother of four surely has a long list of things to worry about, feeding her family doesn’t have to be one of them.
Bringing Hope During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Managing the homeschooling and the on-going reality of the COVID-19 situation is very difficult for anyone who has school aged children. Marlena is taking on this task alone, as her deeply depressed husband took his own life a few years ago. Does a family ever totally recover from such a tragedy? Marlena is especially tuned-in to the signs of depression and her eleven-year-old son, Marco, is not faring well with the social isolation that has come from this pandemic. Marlena is worried and scared, as any mother would be. She has insurance but cannot find a psychiatrist that will accept their insurance. She found her way to Young & Healthy’s website and sent an email. Recognizing this as an extremely urgent situation, the Young & Healthy case managers took quick action. It was not an easy task, but they were able to find a psychiatrist that would provide the care that Marco needs. Where there is pain, Young & Healthy strives to bring hope. We are grateful that Marco’s mom took her son’s symptoms seriously and we wish them all the best for healing.
COVID-19 hasn’t changed EVERYTHING
So much has changed in the last few weeks and our collective heads are spinning. Young & Healthy, like so much of the world, is working remotely and trying to find new and creative ways to serve the community.
But so much of what makes us “Young & Healthy” hasn’t actually changed at all. We are still moved by the plight of a single child and their family situation and we are still in the company of incredibly generous providers and community members. For example, when a child recently had a toothache and every dental office was closed, one of our empathetic volunteer dentists opened her office to care for the little boy.
With schools closed, we know that families will have trouble accessing care, so we created an outreach effort to get the word out that Young & Healthy is still available to help. To communicate this to families, we collected more than 3000 donated toothbrushes and paste to create oral health outreach kits with information on how to reach Young & Healthy. These kits were distributed through the PUSD free lunch program.
During this COVID crises, children and teens in our community are finding school work and on-line therapy nearly impossible because they lack a set of headphones for privacy and/or to be able to focus. When Young & Healthy learned about this digital divide, we launched a headphone donation campaign.
Some of the most impacted families in our community need diapers and formula for their babies, so we are now collecting those items.
There is continued need for masks and gloves for both the PUSD food workers on the front lines and the hospital. More than 5000 personal protective items have been donated to Young & Healthy and we have redistributed them.
Indeed, this pandemic is awful and yet, we are witnesses to so much kindness and generosity. Young & Healthy has always been proud to be a “barrier remover” so that children have a better shot at a healthier life. Some of the barriers have changed, but we are still here to knock them down.
Be well, stay well.