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What does 7,000 diapers look like? Well...

If you suddenly had $8000 to spend in six weeks to help area women impacted by the pandemic, what would you do?

A sudden CRASH of CASH? Such a dream come true! And, as it happens… a big task!

We were handed with this amazing opportunity at the beginning of July. On July 8th we learned that our national organization (YWCA USA) had proactively applied for (and won!), Illinois COVID-19 Restoration Funds on behalf of the 13 Illinois YWCA’s. #WeAreOneIL

Fine print: to be spent by August 25th.

We had just six weeks to use-or-lose this state funding to meet urgent needs of people impacted by the pandemic.

Well, you know us. We do it right or why are we bothering?

We were determined to use it for women and their children in this community, and particularly families of color.

So, what would make that impact? We had some ideas and reached out to our community partners to get it done.


Working with Cunningham Township, we were able to provide 133 nights of shelter for homeless or unstably housed women and their families. We specifically asked them to refer women and families that did not fall under their regular funding constraints. It made me so happy to be able to tell Danielle Chynoweth, “If you identify women who need that support but your funding restrictions can’t do it, tell us. We will make it happen.” Cunningham Township’s staff were absolutely awesome to work with, and I look forward to future collaborations!

2565 MEALS

Moving on to another essential need, we were able to fund 2565 meals through Channing MUrray’s Bucket Brigade. The Channing Murray Foundation, is doing an amazing job of getting food to low-income residents in this stressful time. Some of those households are ones that have been impacted by job loss due to the pandemic. Others are very-low-income households that do not have the ability to make it through quarantine orders without assistance. We are so grateful to have Channing Murray as partners in addressing the fundamental need for good food in our community.



Partnering with Wesley Food Panty, we got 264 packages of feminine hygiene products and 286 packages of diapers out to women and families in the area. Wesley has distribution sites at their Green Street (Urbana) location by the U of I and in Champaign at Parkland College. As someone who worked to alleviate hunger in east central Illinois for nine years, I cannot overstate the importance of their customer-focused, dignity-first, choice-based approach to addressing hunger in Champaign-Urbana.

The women and families who most benefited from our efforts were people of color. It is no coincidence that our mission is “eliminating racism and empowering women”.

This is what we are here for. This is the battle we have to fight, here and now, and until the world sees women and girls the way we do: equal, powerful, unstoppable.

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