Immigrant and Low-Income Families Receive COVID-19 Relief

Immigrant and Low-income Families Receive First Round of Donations

Part of United Way's COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Program


Stockton, CA—United Way of San Joaquin County has announced the first distribution of $200,000 from the nearly $1 Million in funding they received from an anonymous donor. The funds are part of $6.6 million earmarked for United Way chapters in the Central Valley in support of COVID-19 relief and recovery programs.


Kristen Birtwhistle, President and CEO of United Way of San Joaquin County stated “We are excited to begin distributing these funds. With close to $1 million available to support our vulnerable populations, social services and isolated seniors, this first distribution will make a substantial impact to Latino families in San Joaquin County.”


Two San Joaquin County non-profit organizations, El Concilio, and Visionary Home Builders of California, have been jointly granted $200,000 to be distributed to over our 400 low-income families. Each family received $500 each as a result of this funding to support economic mobility and relief, to be used to reduce housing instability regardless of their citizenship status.


“With the recent outbreaks linked to farmworkers, it is clear that the recent COVID-19 testing for our Latino immigrant communities is much needed. As the need continues to rise within these communities, we are pleased to be able to bring some relief to individuals and families during this unprecedented time,” states Birtwhistle.


“El Concilio and Visionary Homebuilders is grateful to United Way of San Joaquin County for providing these much-needed resources to the working families of our community,” shared Jose Rodriquez, CEO, El Concilio. “We know the difference these funds will make for many of the families who are struggling during these uncertain times.”


Several recipients shared their stories about how helpful this has been and how appreciative they are.


Business Dwindled for Mrs. Lopez

Mrs. Lopez made tamales and sold them from her small food cart while the children were in school. This was her only source of income. Once the COVID-19 Shelter in Place began, like many others, her business dwindled. She could not go out and sell from her cart, because she needed to stay home and care for her children who were no longer in school. When she was presented with her check for $500, she could not believe that no strings were attached to these United Way funds presented to her by El Concilio and Visionary Home Builders.


A Tragic Fire for this family

As if COVID-19 wasn’t enough, a devastating 4th of July Fire left Mr. Ortiz and his family homeless. They lost everything—clothes, food and hygiene items. Now staying in a motel waiting to see what their next steps will be, they are using the $500 for gas, food and other essentials. He and his family are thankful for this timely gift, especially during this crisis.


“We know the hardship that Covid-19 has created for the immigrant and low-income families that we serve,” state Carol Ornelas, CEO of Visionary Home Builders of California. “As a non-profit, affordable housing developer and social service provider, we are very aware of the struggles the families in our communities experience. For us to be able to help them as they support and take care of their families eases the financial burdens they are now facing.”


For further information contact: United Way of San Joaquin County at 209-642-0725 or email



United Way chapters across Central California were given a timely gift from a generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous. The $6.6 million earmarked for United Way chapters in the Central Valley was allocated between organizations representing the counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Fresno and Madera, Tulare, Kings and Kern. The gift is part of a larger $15 million-dollar investment meant for multiple California-based United Ways, a network which includes thirty individual chapters – as well as one statewide organization.