Recent News

April 10, 2020

Service Quickly Shifts Focus from Poverty Reduction to Basic Needs Support

Santa Maria Community Services serves the Greater Price Hill community by advocating for families through educational, financial, and health services. Their work is focused on supporting the entire family giving them the resources to move on a path out of poverty.

Santa Maria

When COVID-19 hit, the pandemic forced them to urgently shift from helping people out of poverty to helping them survive a very difficult economic crisis. Staff and volunteers began thinking differently about how they meet families where they are to provide basic needs – like reliable shelter and adequate food. Home visitors, who normally provide educational guidance and support to families, began delivering food, grocery gift cards and other essential items to client’s homes.

The team at Santa Maria knew that technology is a barrier for many families they serve and not everyone is up to date with the latest coronavirus news and restrictions. So, they’ve begun texting and calling clients daily to share knowledge and available resources. They also have moved many of their services, like Every Child Succeeds, support groups and their GED program, to virtual experiences, so that clients don’t fall behind.

“Thanks to United Way of Greater Cincinnati and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, we were able to provide immediate relief. It feels good to know that Santa Maria is trusted to ensure that funds will be used equitably and without the hassle of complex reporting. Because of this, our staff feels empowered to focus on the needs of our community, right away,” said Susan Conrad, Program Director of Santa Maria.

Santa Maria received two grants from the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund activated by United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC) and Greater Cincinnati Foundation. The $15,000 grant is being split between programs that will be used for relief efforts among immigrants and the $25,000 grant is for emergency relief support.

Examples like the Santa Maria program show that our community is stronger because of you. Thank you for your support during this challenging time.

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