Editorial: Nonprofits on the front line

What does it mean to be a nonprofit? Ultimately, it implies that such an organization is motivated by a goal for a greater good than making money.

Many local nonprofit groups are providing a big boost to those hurt by the COVID-19 shutdown. While our health-care workers deserve every bit of the praise they are receiving for their role in the coronavirus fight, nonprofits are doing important work on the front line as well.

Community Services Agency (CSA) and the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC) are two such nonprofits.

CSA, serving Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, is helping hundreds put out of work by the pandemic by providing food and keeping them in their homes.

While stimulus payments and temporary stays on tenant evictions help, they don’t address needs that could stretch over months as people recover from an extended shelter-in-place period that still has no end in sight. Enter CSA.

Buoyed by community support, CSA continues to meet needs – and plans to keep helping no matter what.

“We make it work,” executive director Tom Myers said in a May 5 letter to supporters. “I think this health crisis is underscoring the importance of the nonprofit sector in a way we’ve never seen before, as well as how much our employees contribute to the health and safety of the community.”

While not distributing food or paying people’s rent, CHAC plays an important role in keeping people sane.

Pivoting quickly from in-person school counseling to online appointments, counselors are working with adults and children traumatized by the health and economic threats of the pandemic.

Similar to the publicized surges of patients at hospitals, CHAC counselors are anticipating and preparing for a surge in the need for mental health services. CHAC has risen to the challenge and provides a social safety net as we all move forward in unpredictable times.

CHAC is offering hope, which we will all need plenty of to get through this.

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