Other Voices: Support YMCA caregivers, others suffering losses from pandemic

Coronavirus measures are canceling everything. School is out and many of us are amateur-hour home-schooling our kids – learning the new stress of both full-time parenting while simultaneously working from home. Luckily for many of us, we will still receive our salaries and health insurance benefits. That’s not the case for our El Camino YMCA teams, who are furloughed during the closure.

In nonpandemic times, we depend on the staff of the El Camino YMCA after-school programs to keep our kids alive, safe and loved while we are in our full-time jobs. Now that we’ve all been sent home for the coming weeks, our YMCA teams are out of work. We’ve been refunded, and that means they won’t be paid once their very limited vacation time runs out. Their health insurance also will lapse in one month.

We all hope kids will be safely back at school in four weeks, but in reality, we have no idea how long it will take to flatten the coronavirus curve. Now is the time to rally together as a community and support these critical caregivers so that when the pandemic is over, we can hopefully go back to business as usual.

El Camino YMCA staff provide after-school enrichment at schools in our area, including Almond, Bubb, Castro/Mistral, Huff, Landels, Monta Loma, Oak, Oak Preschool, Theurerkauf and Jose Antonio Vargas. Staff at these facilities include eight directors, four assistant directors, 12 leaders and 13 leader aides. Many of us are lucky enough that even if sent to work from home or conduct work meetings via video, we continue to receive our salaries and continue to have health insurance. These 35 people are vital to our community and have far less financial security.

Please donate to support our YMCA teams at GoFundMe (gf.me/u/xq5tn7).

In addition to our YMCA child enrichment programs, there are many others in our community who will suffer breaking financial losses in this pandemic. For those of you who continue to have the financial resources, I implore you to continue to pay your housekeepers, gardeners and other home helpers during the pandemic, even if they won’t be able to work for you temporarily. They depend on our funding to pay their rent, feed their families and stay healthy themselves.

This is a crisis – please do everything you can to keep our community afloat.

Dr. Alyssa Burgart is a Los Altos resident and physician at Stanford Health Care.

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