Box of food inspires mission to support undocumented immigrants through COVID-19 crisis

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia activist says the COVID-19 pandemic has made survival even more difficult for a group of people already facing an uphill battle: undocumented immigrants.

Deja Lynn Alvarez works with World Health Care Infrastructures, a nonprofit serving members of Philadelphia's immigrant community affected by violence.

"And now, during COVID-19, they're kind of like the forgotten people," Alvarez said.

"You know, they’ve lost their jobs, too, but because they are undocumented, they are unable to file for unemployment. They’re not going to get a stimulus check. They are unable to continue working, because most of the places have closed down."

So Alvarez took matters into her own hands and started up a food drive with a little help from her friends. One of those friends works in Harrisburg: Rep. Brian Sims.

"One of my best friends in the world, Brian Sims, sent me a huge box of produce with veggies and all this stuff. When I got it home, I was like: 'Wait, I could feed two families with all of that,'" she said, remembering where the idea came from.

She says there are a lot of people who don’t have anything and don’t know where their next dollar is coming from. So Alvarez posted a call to action on social media then reached out to her boss for more resources.

From there, she grew her idea into a mission. Now she is calling on friends for help delivering care packages of food, face masks, laundry detergent and even gift cards.

Alvarez says she believes anyone who wants to help people suffering from the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis can help, because no one should be left behind.