Let’s help in times of Covid-19
The coronavirus pandemic transformed the lives of many Alaskans overnight. Students of all ages were sent home from school, activities as simple as going to the grocery store became fraught, and many businesses have had to shut down or lay off workers. While Alaska has reopened for the time being, the economic impact is still being felt by many families. To assist families and businesses hit especially hard by the pandemic, several charities and organizations in Alaska have stepped up to the plate.
One example of this is the AK Can Do fund. A partnership between the United Way of Anchorage and the Alaska Community Foundation, the fund provides swift rent and utility assistance to Alaskans in need, as well as grants for struggling nonprofits. So far, they have received backing from the Rasmuson Foundation, as well as donations from the Murdoch Foundation, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and Alaska Airlines. Individual donors, however, make up over $200,000 of the funds they’ve raised. AK Can Do is determined to “make the most of Alaskan’s generosity” and offer a helping hand to those who need it most.
Every dollar counts. Potential donors can visit AK Can Do’s website at akcando.org to direct a donation to a specific location within the state, or just to whoever needs it most. Individuals in need of assistance can call 2-1-1 in Alaska or 1(800)478-2221 to be directed to the most effective help, and nonprofit organizations can visit alaskacf.org to apply for a grant.
Still, as Mask Mission AK is proving, you don’t have to raise millions of dollars to make a big impact. Mask Mission AK was founded by West Anchorage High School student Sharon Kim. Her father is an RN, and she “worried every day for his safety, along with other healthcare and public service workers.” This inspired her to start Mask Mission AK, a youth-led organization working to encourage people of all ages to protect themselves and others by wearing masks. So far, Mask Mission AK has used funds from their GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/f/mask-mission-ak) as well as donations of homemade masks to give almost 700 masks to organizations in need, ranging from Bean’s Café to the Alaska Native Medical Center and North Star Behavioral Hospital.
Those who want to contribute can visit their website at: https://maskmissionak.wixsite.com/maskmissionak to learn how to make masks from home. Donations are accepted weekly at a no-contact Midtown drop box; just email firstname.lastname@example.org for the location and specific instructions.
“Our mission is to engage Alaskan youth to build a community that will take action in helping to flatten the curve,” Sharon added. “We want to be part of the solution.”