WHITERIVER, AZ, October 1, 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic is truly international. For Direct Relief, a humanitarian aid organization active in over 80 countries, this means making difficult choices about where to fulfill the organization’s mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. This week, a donation from the Some Good News (SGN) community helped make that choice a little easier. The donation came from purchases made at The SGN Store, hosted by Sevenly.org, the proceeds of which were then matched by The Starbucks Foundation. The partnership has been coordinated by 5th Element Group.
“Direct Relief is always looking to help whoever is the most vulnerable in any crisis,” said Andrew MacCalla, VP of Emergency Response. But when countries worldwide are experiencing the same needs at the same time, MacCalla explained, it can be difficult to know who truly is most vulnerable, and even more difficult to allocate limited resources to another country when people are suffering here in the United States as well.
Native American groups have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and are habitually overlooked in times of crisis. According to government statistics, Native American homes and communities are at a greater risk of being affected by the virus, with challenges in sanitation and overcrowding that make recommended preventative measures like cleaning and social distancing nearly impossible.
For the White River Indian Hospital, a facility serving over 17,000 tribal members and run by the Indian Health Service (IHS), this has created a particular need for COVID-19 PPE products as well as other relief supplies. The need is made all the more dire by the fact that the most vulnerable members of the Native American population – the elders – hold some of the last remaining links to a way of life that is rapidly disappearing.
Thankfully, Direct Relief, with support from charity and business partners, mobilized by First Nations Fund, was able to donate a shipment of PPE and emergency aid this week that included thousands of masks and sanitizer, along with other relief supplies collected by the team at First Nations Fund.
“There is real need in the Apache community, and it is a privilege to serve the amazing people who are our neighbors there,” said Amanda Adams, Executive Director of First Nations Fund.
This donation was made possible by purchases of Some Good Merch made at The SGN Store. The store was created by Some Good News, a YouTube sensation that was hosted in its first season by John Krasinski. The store is managed by Sevenly.org, which sends proceeds from purchases to The SGN Fund, 100% of which goes directly to charitable organizations like Direct Relief. Through the end of the year, these SGN Store donations for COVID-19 relief efforts are matched by The Starbucks Foundation, up to $1 million.
And every little bit counts. “The work only happens,” said McCalla, “because of the businesses and individual donors that are providing these products.” Even amidst a pandemic that crosses national boundaries, partnerships like this remind us that we are all united in the fight against COVID-19.