On March 11th, 2020, National College Resources Foundation was on tour headed to DC for our 18th annual Black College Expo™ when we received a phone call stating that due to the COVID-19 outbreak we would have to postpone or cancel our event. We were speechless. In 21 years we have never had to cancel or postpone any of our events, so this was a shock to us. Two days later we begin receiving calls from students in a panic asking for help and direction. Apparently, the word came down that all college campuses were closing and the students needed to leave the campus due to the COVID-19 crisis. As we were also in shock trying to gather our thoughts, we also knew that the students were depending on our help or at least help put them at ease.
We began to get calls from students needing plane flights to get home or needing help finding a place to stay. Many of the students that were calling were homeless and foster students with little or no parental support. To these students their college dormitories were their safe havens and for the first time in their lives they had some sense of normalcy. We immediately started helping with plane tickets and trying to find places for students to stay, even if we had to pay for hotel rooms, or send money to help get them situated. We connected with 48 students to provide assistance. We went on social media to appeal for donors help as well. We were able to get 100% of the students some kind of assistance, and to date we are still assisting 18-20 students a month during this pandemic.
100% of our college students were able to finish this past semester with passing grades to be able to stay in school and prepare for the upcoming school year. We have even provided K-12 students and their families with gift cards for food, masks and shelter. We even had a family of seven that was living in a car just trying to survive. This pandemic has shown us that many students are living in homeless situations, “couch surfing”, being forced to move from different motels or shelters. Now on top of the crisis we have social justice issues throughout this country, throughout the world. People are suffering socially and emotionally, and many of our students are really suffering. They have a lot on their chest.
As an organization, we are always in need of donations to keep our programs and assistance going so we can provide the best support system to students. As we try to find ways to stay healthy and safe, we must remember and know we are all in this together and together we WILL get through this.