MAGIC VALLEY — Since the beginning of the pandemic, The Crisis Hotline Idaho has provided resources to the Hispanic and Latino community. In March, they added a Spanish support hotline after knowing their calls would increase because of the pandemic. They also conducted community outreach to the Hispanic and Latino community during the Census count to make sure they were accounted for.
"I mean right from March when we all met originally and said we just need to do this and we had no money, but it didn't matter," Tammy Davis, Executive Director of Crisis Hotline Idaho, said.
Ivan Velasquez learned about the Crisis Hotline Idaho last year after losing his job due to the pandemic and needed financial support. After receiving resources from the hotline, he started to inform others about the organization. He has now helped over 30 families get the support they need.
"What I'd say is I just met these people who help people. So they have a lot of tools with anything that's happening to persons," Velasquez said.
Ivan says he noticed many other Hispanic and Latino families needing support but not knowing how or who to reach out to for help.
"Because pretty much all the people we know, they know there is some help here in the town, but they're afraid. They're afraid to ask for help. That's what all the people see. I mean, we were afraid to because we don't know how all of this works, but now we know," Velasquez said.
Both Ivan and his wife lost their jobs back in March due to the pandemic. They both worked in restaurants and got laid off after the stay at home order was put in place, losing their primary source of income.
"We lost our jobs for like two months, and that was the hardest part. Then, my wife, I mean the restaurant she worked at shut down, so she lost her job too," Velasquez said.
The Crisis Hotline Idaho helped them with financial support and other resources like child care and groceries.
"That's an amazing job that these guys are doing, and I'm grateful to help you guys do this too. I mean, I feel good that we help families here," Velasquez said.
Ivan is not the only caller who is now helping other families. The organization says at least ten other people have turned into volunteers and help their neighbors get the support they need.
“That’s the most rewarding part of this, you know? Like the bible, instead of just feeding them fish, we are teaching them how to fish," Davis said.