The daily interaction that the Austin Voices in Education and Youth (AVEY) staff had with the St. John’s Neighborhood came to an abrupt stop in mid-March. Like all of Austin (and the world!), AVEY had to close most of its operations, including all of its Family Resource Centers.
Since AVEY was already working with many of the most vulnerable families at the neighborhood schools, the organization had referral systems in place for teachers and other staff to use for family needs. As such, AVEY staff members have continued to do what they can – a key activity is distributing food. While food pantries at neighborhood schools are open weekly, some staff members – in emergency – have delivered food and other supplies to families’ homes. AVEY’s staff of nine social workers and 11 others has also continued to work with families by phone and virtually.
“Our staff members have continued to do drive-thru food distributions that have served over 6,000 families so far!” AVEY Director of Family Resources Julie Weeks said in late June. “Our Family Resource Center directors are doing Rapid Response assessments with families to identify their needs in this time of COVID-19 and our social workers have been busy distributing extra Austin Energy Plus 1 funds and $380,000 in grant funds for direct financial assistance to families in need. We do that through a City of Austin RISE grant and our partnership with the Assistance League of Austin that many Covenant members also participate in.”
Since mid-March, AVEY has supported Austin Independent School District (AISD) families in the neighborhood by:
“We're so grateful to Covenant for all the many ways you have supported and been involved in this work,” Julie said.
Covenant is spotlighting AVEY through the month of July. Find volunteer opportunities and more information about AVEY at covenant.org/austin-voices.