Heritage University in Toppenish has created a collective impact initiative as they call it known as Yakima Valley Partners for Education. The collective recently received $34,000 in grants to help families in the lower valley who are having a tough time buying food because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A press release says YVPE received a $15,000 grant from Save the Children. The grant was matched by Latino Community Fund at $15,000. The money will be used to buy families grocery gift cards. YVPE also partnered with Fiesta Foods which provided $3,000 and grocery cards, with Washington Broadband’s Forbes Mercy also contributing $1,000. The grants allowed YVPE to purchase and give the cards to 600 families in need.
The press release says "Bryan Ketcham, director of Catholic Charities Housing Services in Yakima, says nearly 90 families living in their housing sites in Wapato and Sunnyside are able to feed their loved ones because of YVPE’s efforts. “During this time of the year and with the current pandemic we have seen a significant increase in the level of need amongst our residents,” said Ketcham. “Paying for their rent, utilities and access to food and other emergency services have been among the highest of priorities and needs that our staff has been helping our residents to access. We are grateful for YVPE’s generosity.”

Micaela Razo, program director at Latino Community Fund says she is humbled to work within the community to be a voice and resource to the most in need during the pandemic. “We continue to hear the need and work effectively to network with multiple organizations, school districts and businesses to bring relief to the families in need,” said Razo, “Our goal is to make sure we can be a beacon of light in time of darkness to our community. Together we can do more for each other.”

Families started receiving the grocery gift cards last month just in time for the holidays. The giveaway will be over at the end of the month.

For more information, contact Suzy Diaz, Heritage University Collective Impact director at diaz_s@heritage.edu or (509) 480-9354.