Former Governor Bill Richardson and Actors Edward James Olmos and Danny Trejo have joined forces to create a fund to assist families in the hard-hit Colonias-area of Southern New Mexico. The Governor Richardson, Olmos, Trejo COVID-19 Emergency Fund for the Southern Colonias of Doña Ana County will offer cash assistance to individuals and families.
Daily life in the Colonias was challenging even before COVID-19. Many communities lack infrastructure like paved roads and functioning sewer systems. The pandemic has only increased the economic strain facing the families of the Colonias with many out of work and unable to afford groceries, gas, rent, utilities, and other basic essentials.
“The Colonias have always had a special place in my heart, especially when I was Governor. The impact of this pandemic on already-struggling areas, like the Colonias, has been catastrophic,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “We wanted to do something that provided immediate assistance to families who have been impacted by this crisis which threatens the health and the economic wellbeing of so many families.”
Actors Edward James Olmos and Danny Trejo, both longtime social activists and humanitarians, have filmed movies in New Mexico.
Mr. Olmos received the Humanitarian Award at last year’s Las Cruces Film Festival. “I cherish my time working and filming in southern New Mexico and with the people of New Mexico,” said Mr. Olmos. “All of us have been impacted greatly by the spread of COVID-19, but it’s our collective responsibility to make sure that there’s a safety net for our most vulnerable families.”
Mr. Trejo has been active in his home state of California providing meals for frontline hospital workers and joining a campaign to provide COVID-19 resource kits in Spanish to migrant farm workers. “I’ve been doing what I can at home to protect and provide for those most at- risk for COVID-19 and I am honored to join with Governor Richardson to help the people of the Colonias in Southern New Mexico,” said Mr. Trejo. “Now more than ever we should reach out and support our neighbors.”
Partnering with the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico and the Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico, the fund will offer applicants a one-time check – $150 for individuals or households without children and $300 for individuals or households with one or more children. Families may use this cash assistance for groceries, medical bills, rent, utilities, car repairs, or whatever emergency expenses they might have due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Providing cash assistance allows for families without the means or desire to travel to big box stores to spend money in their local communities and has the added benefit of injecting support into locally-owned small businesses,” said Dawn Z. Hommer, Chief Executive Officer of the Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico.
“Our Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers are honored to be a part of this emergency response fund,” said Terra V. Winter, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico. “In times like this, we are reminded of the importance of community foundations – we can be flexible, quickly respond to needs and make an immediate and lasting impact in the communities we serve.”
Fundraising for the fund has been jumpstarted with a $10,000 donation from Governor Richardson’s foundation, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement. Donations of any size are welcome and small donations are encouraged. The Fund has already received close to $40,000 of pledged donations.
For those interested in donating to the fund, please visit: bit.ly/SCDACemergencyfund
Or mail a check to: Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico 2600 El Paseo Road Las Cruces, NM 88001 Please indicate Richardson Olmos Trejo Fund in the memo line.
To apply for assistance, call the Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico at (575) 527-8799 or visit them at https://caasnm.org.
Governor Richardson would like to extend his heartfelt thanks to the following people for their support and guidance:
Jesus Carrasco Steve Feinberg Representative Doreen Gallegos Laura Garcia Mary Helen Garcia John Hummer Jennifer Kozlowski Representative Ray Lara Chris Lyons Fernando Macias Juan Massey Mayor Ken Miyagishima
Andrew Moralez Jerry Pacheco Senator Mary Kay Papen Eloy Vallina
For more information: Maddy Mahony (917) 496-6614 firstname.lastname@example.org
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