The coronavirus pandemic is a game changer for Indianapolis’ Latino community. Many Latino families are undocumented – and because of their immigration status, may not qualify for relief under federal stimulus packages. Many are employed in jobs where they cannot work remotely, which means they must risk their health and keep working through the crisis, or risk losing their job. Latinos are projected to endure a significant economic impact of coronavirus.

In Central Indiana, La Plaza serves as the primary resource to Latino families with a commitment to strengthen youth, families, and the Indianapolis community through linguistically and culturally appropriate services and community events. La Plaza is the longest standing Latino nonprofit in Central Indiana, established in 1971 as El Centro Hispano. The center was established to address the needs of the growing Latino community in central Indiana. Although the center is closed to the public due to COVID-19, La Plaza continues to provide services virtually to families and has seen a tremendous surge in calls for assistance. 

“We have been overwhelmed by the number of clients calling us asking for help with rent, utilities, food, employment opportunities, tutoring resources, and more,” said Miriam Acevedo Davis, La Plaza’s President & CEO. “We’re also seeing an increase in referrals for our mental health and domestic violence programs. The pandemic is causing a crisis in our community – and we are unsure of its full impact. But we are doing absolutely everything we can to help as many people as we can.”

That help ranges from food distribution at the Center available for pickup or delivery; transferring information, programs and resources online; helping families navigate the system – and, sometimes it’s simply spending time on the phone listening to someone who is scared and confused. With a $5,000 emergency grant from Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, they are also able to provide 100 survival packages for women. 

“We asked our staff how we could support women and girls during this crisis, and everyone agreed that one of the greatest things we could do would be to provide kits with basic items that sometimes get placed at the bottom of their shopping list,” explained Miriam. “Women tend to care for everyone else first and themselves last, so things like shampoo, conditioner, soaps, and feminine products fall to the bottom of their lists. These things are essential, but often get overlooked.”

Miriam expressed how grateful and humbling it is to receive the support from Women’s Fund. The grant reminded her that “grace is everywhere.” In addition to making and delivering the 100 kits, the funds were also used to create a Facebook fundraiser and challenge to try and match the kits made possible by Women’s Fund. Visit La Plaza’s website to learn how you can donate items for more survival kits. You can also call the office at 317-890-3292 or email mariana@laplaza-indy.org

Everyone at La Plaza is taking this one day at a time, staying hopeful and continuing to work hard to serve individuals and families in their community. Miriam believes that the greater good will prevail. 

Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, a Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) Fund, distributed $106,390 emergency grants to support organizations serving women and girls affected by the impact of COVID-19. Visit Women’s Fund COVID-19 response page to learn more about their efforts or to make a contribution to the Women’s Fund COVID-19 Emergency Grant Fund.