There’s no question about it—this holiday season is going to be difficult. And disproportionately so for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color), who are statistically more likely to catch COVID-19, and are statistically more likely to be in a job that cannot be done from home.
“We know the holidays are hard, especially if people are not necessarily traveling to family and are having to cook on their own,” says Elizabeth Walther-Grant, who cofounded Merrimack Valley Black and Brown Voices, a support and advocacy organization for BIPOC, with Mayara Reis and Bria Gadsden, this spring.
Rather than doing a food drive, the organization is collecting gift cards to support people’s dietary restrictions and needs: one to two people will get a $100 gift card, a family of two to four will get $150, and then four-plus will get $200 gift cards.
“We want to try to help as many families as we can,” says Walther-Grant.
This fundraiser comes on the heels of the organization’s successful back-to-school fundraiser this fall, which provided backpacks full of school supplies to 30 area families, and laptops or tablets to 20 kids.
“We tried to personalize the backpacks and some of the stuff in the backpacks for each kid,” Walther-Grant explained, noting that they asked the parents about children’s favorite colors, sports teams, and animals. “We wanted to give them a little bit of something extra so they felt somewhat normal in this weird school year.”
The outpouring of support for Walther-Grant’s fledgling organization has been encouraging, she says. “A lot of people were super generous. We had individuals who just sponsored a kid and got everything on their list. To sponsor a family or donate a gift card, visit mvbbvoices.org/thankful.
If you are a BIPOC living in the Merrimack Valley area in need of assistance with your Thanksgiving meal, visit form.jotform.com/202924161066046.
The deadline to donate gift cards or apply for a donation is November 19.