Coaching Corps’ Response to COVID-19 – Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is Coaching Corps sending volunteers out during shelter-in-place orders?
A: Coaching Corps is an organization that normally recruits and trains volunteers to be sports mentors to kids living in low-income communities. With schools and afterschool programs closed literally overnight, many low-income families do not know where their children’s next meal will come from. Many parents and caretakers are struggling to hold down jobs without sick leave or work-from-home options, and have to make the difficult decision to leave their children at home alone or risk losing income.
Coaching Corps’ community partners, including food banks and school districts, have asked for immediate and ongoing help to meet the urgent needs of kids and families living in the neighborhoods they serve.
Food banks already work at capacity during normal times. Now with COVID-19, they are completely overwhelmed. They expect to double, even triple their output in the coming weeks. They are estimating a 40% or more drop in the volunteer workforce, which means getting meals to those who need them is dire.
Coaching Corps has stepped in to help as an organization uniquely qualified to fill this need – its infrastructure and staff have been built to activate large numbers of volunteers as coaches. Coaching Corps is in a position to use its technology and skillset to ensure families do not meet further hardships by getting volunteers, and basic necessities, to the sites working on the frontlines.
Q: What safety precautions are Coaching Corps instituting to ensure no one gets COVID-19?
A: Coaching Corps supports the efforts to contain COVID-19. At the same time, Coaching Corps is concerned about the challenges shelter-in-place restrictions pose on already susceptible low-income communities. Supplying food to low–income families is considered an essential need, and volunteers are urgently needed to meet the need now and for the long haul.
Coaching Corps is taking necessary safety precautions. Those interested in volunteering are referred to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization guidelines to determine if they are high-risk, and if not, to decide for themselves if they are comfortable volunteering. It is very important that volunteers self-select and make decisions about their own safety.
Coaching Corps has confirmed with partners that they are following the CDC-recommended safety protocols of social distancing, wearing protective gear and sanitizing workspaces. Coaching Corps follows up with volunteers about their experiences and asks questions about site safety protocols. If a site is not following safety practices, our staff reaches out to the site and asks them to fix the issue, or they will be removed from our listings until protocols are followed.
For those not comfortable volunteering, people who want to help can donate to supply basic necessities such as diapers, formula and hygiene products which families desperately need to stay healthy and safe.
Q: What makes Coaching Corps qualified to recruit volunteers?
A: Coaching Corps is an organization that normally recruits and trains volunteers to be sports mentors to kids living in low-income communities. Its community partners, including food banks and school districts, have asked for immediate and ongoing help to meet the urgent needs of kids and families living in the neighborhoods they serve.
Coaching Corps has stepped in to help as an organization uniquely qualified to fill this need – the infrastructure and staff have been built to activate large numbers of volunteers as coaches. Coaching Corps is in a position to use its technology and skillset to ensure families do not meet further hardships and to get volunteers, and basic necessities, to the sites working on the frontlines.
Q: Who is Coaching Corps asking to volunteer?
A: Coaching Corps is an organization that normally recruits and trains volunteers to be sports mentors to kids living in low-income communities. Since the organization’s beginning 18 years ago, it has built a base of 18,000 volunteer coaches and supporters who represent many ages and backgrounds. The majority of our coaches are college students who are looking for ways to do good in their communities.
There are many people who want to help during COVID-19 who might not know how. Coaching Corps is answering that call by connecting them with volunteer opportunities, and/or the ability to make donations for basic supplies, such as diapers and hygiene products, which families desperately need.
Q: What geographic areas is Coaching Corps focusing on to meet needs of children and families?
A: Coaching Corps is a national organization that serves children living in low-income communities. Right now, the organization is focusing its COVID-19 response efforts mainly in California where it is based and where the greatest numbers of children and families who need critical support are located. Coaching Corps is also currently working with partners in Boston and Baltimore.
Q: How many people have responded to Coaching Corps’ outreach, and what has been the impact?
A: Beginning March 13, Coaching Corps began receiving requests from its community partners, including school districts and food banks, for immediate support to meet the needs of the children and families living in the communities where they work. Nearly 400 people have responded so far, and the number continues to grow as outreach continues.
The fast responses of community partners such as Oakland Unified School District, Boys & Girls Clubs of Long Beach, Los Angeles Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District and San Diego Unified School District, California’s second largest district, are working quickly to help keep hundreds of thousands of children safe and fed.
The need on the ground is extreme. In Oakland alone where Coaching Corps is headquartered, roughly 50,000 kids are now vulnerable as they rely on free or reduced breakfast and lunch programs to avoid going hungry. Oakland currently has 12 sites delivering meals. Since day one of service, the number of meals provided has quadrupled, with that number expected to balloon. In the Los Angeles Unified School District, nearly 700,000 students, almost 80% who are from families living in poverty, were served 374,052 meals in one day across 64 sites, helping more people than any food bank in the country.
Q: What type of services are volunteers providing?
A: At this time, logistical support for school districts, regional food banks, and local food pantries is extremely urgent, and requires volunteers.
Volunteers set up parking lots; break down boxes; accept and sort items; package and distribute food; and coordinate safe practices, such as mopping and wiping down surfaces, that adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Q: How does Coaching Corps know needs on the ground are being met?
A: Coaching Corps staff are in daily, sometimes multiple times per day, contact with partners working on the frontlines to communicate the ever-evolving needs of the children and families they are supporting. Communication involves capacity and supply updates, such as the urgent need for volunteers and basic necessities, such as diapers, formula and hygiene products that Coaching Corps can quickly mobilize its resources to help provide.
Q: What else is Coaching Corps doing to respond to COVID-19?
A: Coaching Corps is working closely with afterschool partners to deliver its proprietary training modules online to their staff. While partners are closed during the pandemic, their staff can receive the training virtually that Coaching Corps normally provides in person at each partner location.
The trainings are designed to create environments for kids where they feel safe, connected and accepted for who they are and where they come from. Trainings prepare afterschool partner staff with trauma–informed best practices and skills that empower them to be response and agile in responding to the evolving needs of young people living in the underserved communities where they work.
By offering these online trainings, staff will save time preparing and be ready to coach when shelter-in-place orders are lifted and kids return to their afterschool programs.
Q: What will Coaching Corps do as an organization if the shelter-in-place or a more serious official quarantine lasts longer than a few months?
A: Coaching Corps will accelerate the call for donations to supply basic necessities such as diapers, formula and hygiene products which families desperately need to stay safe and healthy.
Sites currently accepting volunteers and donations are listed on the Coaching Corps website. If and when a site closes, Coaching Corps will make every effort to update the information on the website.