Mano a Mano raises $400,000 in COVID-19 relief for immigrant and low-income families

The Mano A Mano Family Resource Center has raised $400,386 to assist 1,115 families affected financially by COVID-19.

The Tanda Emergency Fund is for direct financial assistance to the families - including more than 4,000 individuals - in Lake and McHenry counties.

Mano A Mano Director of Strategy & Development Megan McKenna said recipients include undocumented immigrants who were left out of unemployment and food assistance from the CARES Act that passed earlier this year.

"I saw the writing on the wall," McKenna said. "We needed to step up and quickly to provide critical assistance to their basic needs."

Mano a Mano, based in Round Lake Park, relied on donors - including 70 new individual donors - to fund the relief effort, which was shared across social media. Organizations such as United Way of Metro Chicago, the Lake County Community Foundation, the Community Foundation for McHenry County, and United Way of Lake County pitched in as well, donating amounts ranging from $5,000 to $75,000.

Most recipients are Latino residents, many of whom work jobs deemed essential in places like factories and warehouses, McKenna said.

"They're at the front line of this dangerous situation," McKenna said.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Hispanic residents make up 22% of the population of Lake County but have had 41% of the county's COVID-19 cases.

Only 14% of people getting COVID-19 tests in Lake County identified as Hispanic.

The Tanda Emergency Fund takes its name from a Latin American term for an informal, short-term loan from friends and family members. Unlike traditional tandas, these funds do not need to be returned.

The fund raised roughly $180,000 for food and prescription drugs as well as rent payments, DACA renewal applications and other needs.

McKenna said about $100,000 was raised in gift cards for groceries from commercial markets such as Aldi as well as from local grocery stores owned by immigrant families, including the Mendoza Market, Tres Amigas, La Union and Super Mercado Gonzales.

Mano A Mano volunteer Erika Martinez loads supplies into a van. courtesy of Megan McKenna, Mano a Mano
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