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COVID-19 Community Response Project

September 23, 2020

Time and time again, when a critical need arises, the Paso Robles wine community has proven that it can step up and lend support. Our local community creates solutions for challenges that require resources for those most affected. This year, the Paso Robles Wine Alliance has teamed up with must! charities to help those who need it most.

The project

2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic have presented monumental obstacles trials for many. Countless community members rely on a steady paycheck to pay utility bills, purchase groceries, and pay rent. Many workers have been furloughed, have had hours cut, or were simply laid off because of the pandemic. These aren’t just nameless statistics – they are our friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

We are proud to partner with must! charities on a new COVID Community Response Project that will directly impact families and individuals in our region. This Assistance Fund will be managed in partnership with ECHO (El Camino Homeless Organization), who has 19 years of experience helping the most vulnerable in our region.

This program will build on ECHO’s current experience with assistance funding, adding screening tools and referral and intake procedures for those currently housed. Assistance will encompass more than just financial relief as case management will ensure the client’s success and well-being in the program with an action plan, wrap-around support, and follow-up case management. Funding will result in far fewer homeless individuals and families than would otherwise be the case. This in turn will have positive economic and social impacts throughout the region, including less trauma, fewer dollars needed to support health and social service programs, an economy that rebounds more quickly, and a society with a stronger ethical foundation.

Where does the money raised go?

The Assistance Fund will be managed by must! charities in partnership with ECHO, 100% of the raised money goes directly to support individuals and families in need.

A few must! charities’ donors have already committed $125,000 to pay for a full-time project/case manager at ECHO for two years because this project is more than a hand-out, it is a well thought out, strategized hand-up approach.

An additional $50,000 has been put in as an initial commitment to the assistance fund. We are hoping to grow this fund over the next two years to support those in need in our community.

this is truly a grassroots effort. it takes a special community like paso robles to come together and raise money to help our neighbors.

A success story

The COVID-19 Community Response Project has already made a powerful impact in such a short amount of time. A family that had their hours greatly reduced as a result of the pandemic were unable to pay their rent and found themselves without a home. Thanks to funds donated to the new project, ECHO was able to re-house them quickly. The young family of five moved into their new home with tears of joy and the deepest gratitude to its fellow community members.

How you can help

Just like we have with fire relief support and other altruistic projects, the wine industry is striving to make a difference. Together the PRWCA and must! have kick-started the assistance fund, and now we have the opportunity to build the fund to meet community needs.

The generosity of the Paso Robles wine community and Paso Wine fans will meet the unmet needs of people on the verge of homelessness and those facing hunger in our region. The Community Response Project will help transform the paths of many of our neighbors who’ve been dramatically affected by the pandemic. Together we are looking forward to making a positive difference.

To contribute to the Community Response Project you can send a check, donate online, or contact must! charities at info@mustcharities.org.

About must! charities

Since 2012, must! charities have committed over $2.5 million dollars in North San Luis Obispo County. Must! charities is Venture Philanthropy. Using an investment-minded approach to social initiatives based on the greatest community needs must! charities bring together individuals and businesses in the community who are dedicated to improving the quality of life of those most in need. Must!’s community work adds to the vibrancy of the region by strengthening partnerships and programs through fundraising and advocacy. As a group of collective donors, they continuously empower non-profits to make strategic, sustainable changes that create greater impacts. For more information, please visit mustcharities.org.

About ECHO (El Camino Homeless Organization)

ECHO’s mission since 2001 is to empower people in SLO County to make a positive change by providing food, shelter, and supportive services. With 19 years of experience, ECHO operates a 50-bed shelter, a daily community dinner program, and a shower program for homeless individuals and families throughout San Luis Obispo County. For more information, please visit echoshelter.org.