Self Help Seeks Community Support During Pandemic

By Kirsten Laskey
Los Alamos Daily Post
kirsten@ladailypost.com

In times of hardship, Self Help, Inc., is there to lend a helping hand to those in need.

With the COVID-19 pandemic growing and with it an increasing number of significant impacts, local non-profit Self Help is looking for some assistance itself.

Self Help Executive Director Maura Taylor said the nonprofit’s budget allows it to help 500 families a year or a little more than 1,000 individuals. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to increase the demand for the nonprofit’s services and Taylor encourages the community to help aid its efforts by donating financially.

She said the organization has a strong number of volunteers so it’s overhead expenses are not expected to rise, which means donations can directly benefit clients.

Taylor added that the organization works to stretch every dollar it has.

“We can really change a life for $30,” she said.

Taylor said one of the most common things Self Help assists with is preventing evictions and stopping utilities from being shut off. But its services are widespread; it can help with groceries and food vouchers as well as assist people in getting a cell phone and paying court fees.

While the hope is the government will step in with aid, Taylor said she is concerned the most vulnerable: the low income, the undocumented and other individuals, will slip through the cracks.

“What I’m hoping for is widespread government officials to minimize the effects,” she said. “We definitely expect an increase in need…”

The number of calls is already growing, Taylor said.

To donate, visit www.selfhelpla.org/donate or send a check payable to Self Help, Inc., 2390 North Road, in Los Alamos. All donations are tax deductible.

Taylor said Los Alamos is a great community that offers a lot of support.

“We are lucky to have such a great, supportive community … there’s a lot of nervous energy and there hasn’t been a whole lot of places to put that energy but this is one place it can go,” she said.

She added that it is times like this that people really come together and help one another.

“I think it is so easy to get really fearful … I think the best thing about times like this is that humanity bonds together,” Taylor said. “I really believe our community can really support people who are on the edge … and help support their neighbors.”

Self Help is headquartered in Los Alamos but along with the Hill, it serves Taos County, a portion of Santa Fe County and Rio Arriba County. Taylor said the area the organization covers is about the size of New Hampshire. The organization recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and the state and local government honored Self Help by proclaiming Oct. 15, 2019 as Self Help Day.

Staff are operating remotely but are still available by phone, 505.662.4666 or visit www.selfhelpla.org.