Pandemic is costly — and often violent — for women worldwide Chico volunteers address inequities on a local level

photo courtesy of DSA
Alexandra Wynter (left) brings supplies to a Chico woman living in a homeless encampment.

by Lindajoy Fenley and Leslie Layton

Alexandra Wynter is feeling optimistic – even in the middle of a global pandemic that has made a difficult life even more difficult for many women.

As a volunteer coordinator for an outreach program run by Chico’s DSA (Democratic Socialists of America), the pandemic has given her an opportunity to build relationships with unhoused women — she prefers “unhoused” to the stigma attached to “homeless” — throughout the community whose lives have been made even more precarious by the COVID-19 crisis. read more

Ineligible for government relief, unauthorized workers suffer Nonprofits overwhelmed by need

photo courtesy of NorCal Resist
A volunteer for NorCal Resist delivers food to an immigrant family.

by Leslie Layton

Until disaster struck, Susana and her husband were employed by two Chico restaurants, supporting their three children by working in food preparation and dishwashing.

They paid social security and other taxes, but when the restaurants that employed them were closed two months ago as part of the state-mandated shelter-in-place, there was no government relief available for the family.

As undocumented immigrants, they were ineligible for unemployment insurance or a stimulus check. Financial assistance to undocumented immigrants nationwide – many of whom perform services deemed essential, and in doing so, are subject to possible virus exposure – has largely been left to grass-roots, charitable organizations that struggle to keep up with a deluge of requests for help. read more

Caravan to Butte County will assist immigrants Many will receive no relief from the government

photo courtesy of NorCal Resist

Sacramento-based NorCal Resist is asking for food and cash donations and gift cards for its May 16 Car Caravan to Butte County that will provide emergency pandemic assistance to immigrant families ineligible for government aid.

NorCal Resist organizer Autumn Gonzalez said many of the immigrant families that will be assisted with cash for rent or in other ways are Camp Fire survivors who contacted the organization’s hotline. read more

Farmers Market keeps many vendors in business Some are struggling with the effects of the pandemic

photo by Karen Laslo
Emma Harris works her Pine Creek Flowers booth April 25, abiding by public health guidelines Farmers Market has adopted.

by Leslie Layton

For Emma Harris, the past five weeks of pandemic have meant a hard hustle.

She’s had to fashion a new business model in just weeks to keep her Chico flower farm, Pine Creek Flowers, afloat.

As the pandemic set in, she saw that her market sales were going to plummet; the spring opening of the Thursday Night Market was postponed and the Saturday crowd at the downtown Farmers Market was smaller. She says she didn’t qualify for a loan from the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program; Pine Creek Flowers doesn’t have a payroll. read more