Meeting the COVID-19 Challenge and Successfully Fundraising with “Pie”

By: James Le, Associate Director of Engagement, Project Access

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, the term “unprecedented” seems to lack the punch or importance it once had. The past twelve months have fundamentally changed all of us in ways large and small. Many of us have been simultaneously challenged on multiple fronts – our health, work, finances, family structure, social circle, education, etc.   

Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, all our communities across the country quickly pivoted to meet the challenges facing our Residents and Staff. From providing masks, hand sanitizers, socially distanced programs, increased communications, and health guidance, throughout 2020 Project Access met the need at hand and the numbers are impressive: 84,303 meals and groceries distributed; 20,802 wellness calls to Residents;12,965 Grab & Go kits distributed (activities for kids, adults, and seniors); and 10,452 participants in virtual programs.

Project Access has continued with these efforts but has now expanded to assist many of our Residents to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations. Efforts like this ensure that the most vulnerable among our Residents have access to the peace-of-mind the vaccine affords.

Although our collective fight against COVID-19 is not over, there is now light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Our communities have faced natural threats before such as fires, floods, earthquakes, and such, but nothing as personal as the pandemic. Together we have met an extraordinary global event with an ongoing and equally extraordinary response.

We’re very proud that in the 13 states Project Access calls home, in communities from coast to coast, our valued Staff and Residents have successfully come together in the common cause of defeating COVID-19. It’s an effort we can all be proud of!

While we acknowledge the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 we have undertaken our annual PIE IN THE SKY campaign to equip youth with the important skills they need to be successful in the classroom and well beyond. Thanks to this fundraising campaign we have a winning recipe for success to ensure kids have a terrific head start. Less than half-way through this March fundraising effort we attained more than 75% of our fundraising goal of $36,500.

According to McKinsey & Company, the average K-12 student in the US could lose $61,000 to $82,000 in lifetime earnings, or the equivalent of a year of full-time work, solely because of COVID-19–related learning losses. These costs are significantly worse for youth in low-income communities. 

In response to this, Project Access is implementing curriculum focused on equipping youth with the needed skills to set them up for lifelong success which include Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Responsible Decision Making, Relationship Skills and Social Awareness. Research has shown that developing these skills can increase a student’s academic performance by 11%. Other positive outcomes include an improvement in classroom behavior, an increased ability to manage stress and depression, and demonstrating better attitudes about themselves, others, and school.