As Attack Poverty, a local nonprofit organization committed to strengthening under-resourced communities through spiritual growth, education, revitalization, and basic needs looks to celebrate its 10th anniversary in July of 2021, the organization like many others is adapting to respond to the realities of COVID-19.
“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we had to press pause on our current programming and swiftly respond to the needs of our community,” said Brandon Baca, CEO of Attack Poverty, who officially was named in this role in April 2020. Overnight we transformed our resource centers into distribution points where we distribute food, supplies, and activities for children.”
To date, the organization has impacted more than 100,000 individuals and over 23,000 families with the distribution of more than 75,000 items.
“In times of crisis, those who are low income and underserved are frequently ostracized from society,” said Baca. “And the coronavirus has been no exception. It has underscored significant gaps within our local communities, which absolutely need to be addressed. These gaps are not singular – they are just not education, or just food insecurity, or unemployment, or access to transportation, or racial – they are wholistic and much more complex than we can imagine.”
It is the current state of affairs – the pandemic, coupled with the ongoing societal gaps on the rise– that is solidifying Attack Poverty’s vision as it approaches its 10th year in 2021.
The nonprofit is exploring ways to take advantage of technology, shifting some of its programmatic elements to virtual environments. Because of this, Baca feels that Attack Poverty will be able to cast its net wider, impacting a greater number of individuals, moving communities from surviving to thriving.
Attack Poverty will be taking its existing program, You Can Academy, a space for children to access education, and turning much of it into a video-based curriculum. It also will take its adult programming, which consists of personal and technical skills development, and add virtual elements as well. The organization will continue to focus its efforts on underserved areas of the community with employment and job readiness, working to empower and set up individuals for success.
“I like to say that we are giving a hand up, not a handout,” said Baca.
With an army of volunteers and dedicated staff, the organization will continue its food distribution sites, concentrating on bringing healthy food options to families in need since most of the areas they serve are essentially food deserts, lacking fresh produce and other healthy food options.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Attack Poverty was concentrating its efforts not only domestically but internationally as well working with indigenous leaders implementing programs to bring clean water to East Asia, education, and development in Africa, and developing sustainable farming and education best practices in India. The organization is still putting efforts into these areas, but the issues that have surfaced domestically have taken priority.
“We are responding to a community that is hurting,” said Baca. “And while this time is challenging, there is hope that we will rise, and our communities will emerge better and stronger than before.”
For more information on Attack Poverty, visit www.attackpoverty.org.
About Attack Poverty
Attack Poverty strives to strengthen under-resourced communities through spiritual growth, education, revitalization and basic needs. Community programs include in-school student support, after school programs, literacy, Adult GED completion, English as a Second Language classes, job readiness training and home repair. For more information about Attack Poverty, visit www.attackpoverty.org.