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DNDA staff distribute hand sanitizer and masks to residents.

When COVID-19 forced us to leave life as we know it, and stay home for the safety of others, DNDA remained dedicated to supporting our community. In our first few weeks working off-site, DNDA reached out to our residents to understand the concerns and challenges they faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the folks in our affordable housing stated that they were concerned about paying rent and finding masks and hand sanitizer.

Our staff and board reached out across our network to begin collecting the materials DNDA’s residents requested to stay safe. We worked with residents to connect them to rental assistance programs throughout Seattle. Our board president personally collected locally crafted masks from her neighbors, sewn with care in their own homes. Our masks came from several sources, including Gathering Roots Retreat and Wellness Center, Making Face Masks in Seattle to Fight COVID 19, the Refugee Artisan Initiative, the Vietnamese Cultural Center, individual volunteers, and the City of Seattle. Local businesses, like Specialty Bottle and Glass Distillery, worked with us to provide reusable bottles and hand sanitizer. Generous contributions from our Uplift campaign and additional support from the Seattle Foundation, allowed us to raise over $58,000, and make direct payments to residents. We are deeply grateful for support from our partners, local businesses, and community.

It was inspiring to see communities continuing to offer love and support to each other during the pandemic. During distribution, some residents offered to share their items with neighbors, sharing support directly with people who needed these supplies more immediately.  Others expressed sincere surprise and gratitude. Many shared frustrations honestly, like navigating unemployment or having to return to work despite the risks to their health. Even from six feet apart, it was good to share supplies, resources and encouragement with our community. Thank you for making all of this possible.