By Luke Putvin | Lynnwood Times Staff
On May 7, the WAGRO Foundation provided monetary support to 110 families outside the Lynnwood Food Bank. President of WAGRO and Lynnwood City Councilmember Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, along with WAGRO volunteer Lupita Zamora, were there to give checks to families in need.
Individuals applied for the money through WAGRO’s Facebook page. Within 24 hours, WAGRO received over 300 inquiries and closed the application. To be eligible, one had to live in Snohomish county and be an indigenous or undocumented individual whose monetary income has been interrupted due to COVID-19.
Altamirano-Crosby said that not everyone is necessarily in the same situation at this time during the pandemic. There are individuals who are able to comfortably stay home during quarantine, but there are others who are suffering from hunger and may be unable to pay bills.
“Undocumented families have no way to apply for government resources, so they are often forgotten,” Altamirano-Crosby said. “When I came to this country, I wasn’t able to speak English, and I wasn’t able to navigate the system and its barriers… I made a moral commitment with myself to help people that were facing the same thing I was facing.”
Amalia, one of the individuals there, learned about this through a friend. “This is very, very important for me and my family… because I don’t have money. I haven’t been able to work for two months. I thank [WAGRO] so much for me and for my family… Any help, any money is helpful.”
Sarah was there with her husband and child, and she learned about this through WAGRO’s Facebook page. “[My husband] hasn’t worked for two months. He does construction, and he’s the one that pays the bills right now. It’s been hard, and this will be a big help. He should start being able to work again this week,” she said.
“It’s been hard. We still haven’t paid all our rent. We paid half of it already, but we’ll be able to pay the rest of it… I’m thankful for this program, and I really appreciate the help.”
Altamirano-Crosby said that WAGRO received about 100 handwritten notes, each one saying things like “Thank you” and “God bless you.”
“I am very grateful to the entire team at the WAGRO Foundation for their passion, hard work and time to accomplish this valuable mission,” Altamirano-Crosby said. “I also wanted to thank all the other individuals who made this possible. Many people think that we are in the same boat, but we are not. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. We are passing a moment in which our perceptions and needs are completely different and each one will come out of that storm in different ways. I think COVID-19 really shines a harsh light on racial structural disparities and inequality in this country.”
Altamirano-Crosby also emphasized that there is still a great need in the community and that many are still struggling. The fact that over 300 applied for this and only 110 were able to be accepted shows that, she said.
More information about the WAGRO Foundation can be found on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WAGROAssociation/.