Su Casa's help for low-income immigrants as important as ever amid COVID-19 pandemic

Su Casa delivers free care packages
Posted at 5:00 AM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 18:24:36-04

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CINCINNATI -- The Su Casa Hispanic Center, a program that’s part of Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio, has been serving the low-income immigrant community since 1997. That help has magnified now due to COVID-19.

The organization, which serves more than 5,000 clients yearly, has delivered more than 150 care packages to people they consider to be the “most vulnerable” in the community.

“We cannot do this for most of our clients, but we’re doing this for the most vulnerable,” said director of the center Giovanna Alvarez. “For the ones who lack transportation, for the ones who don’t understand very well the English language. Many of them, they’re not understanding what a stay-at-home order was.”

The care packages include toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, toothpaste, toothbrushes, as well as pre-packaged foods. In addition, they come with information on COVID-19, Governor Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order and ideas for family at-home activities.

“At the beginning, they were not understanding,” said Alvarez. “They didn’t understand what was going on. They want people to explain to them and talk to them about the importance of staying home.”

The program helps the low-income immigrant community in the Greater Cincinnati area through different services, including case management, educational service and language exchange.

Their tutoring efforts have been suspended, as it requires staff to go to different public schools to teach. This was a way they could keep helping, while safely at a distance. Those handing out the packages do so with masks and gloves on.

“I believe the families that we serve have gone through so much that they have a resilient spirit,” said Alvarez. “We serve with empathy because we understand the needs of these families. They’ve suffered a lot.”

Alvarez said the organization simply wants to help those people get back on their feet, and flourish in the community. The packages, she said, are just another way Su Casa is able to continue its services at a distance.

“They come to this country escaping situations of extreme violence, extreme poverty,” she added. “They are very resilient.”