This local cultural nonprofit feeds Sacramentans in need during COVID-19 pandemic

To help people in need, the Brazilian Center for Cultural Exchange, a local Sacramento nonprofit, launched their “Lean on Me” meal program in July.

Since then, the organization has provided a total of 7,000 meals to unsheltered people and low-income seniors.

The Center was able to operate their program with help from the Creative Economy Recovery program, which was funded from the $89 million the City received from the federal CARES Act.

“Not only have the Creative Economy grants given us a means to survive financially but our grant to create our ‘Lean on Me’ program has really given us a sense of purpose and community during what would otherwise be a dark and isolating time,” said Caitlin O’Neil, board member of the Brazilian Center for Cultural Exchange. “When the Brazilian Center facility would otherwise be largely closed, it is instead bustling with volunteers happily cooking and packaging meals for those in need.”

The Brazilian Center also received reimbursement grants for lost income due to the pandemic and a grant to create an education program to teach online Brazilian martial arts and dance to Sacramento students.

“These grants were vital for many of our cultural nonprofits and creative businesses when many of their normal operations were halted or impacted by the pandemic,” said Ray Gargano, the City’s Office of Arts & Culture Grants Program Officer. “Not only were we able to help these groups stay afloat with the CARES Act funded grants, but we also helped them create new programs to service our communities in need.”

The City’s Creative Economy Recovery program distributed $19.8 million in grants to help arts groups and tourism and cultural organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This City has also delivered 507,348 meals to seniors through the Great Plates Delivered program and has provided CARES Act funds to the Sacramento Food Bank which amounts to 654,989 meals.

Find more information on the Brazilian Center on their website.

Other COVID-19 resources including Wi-Fi access, youth programs and help accessing financial resources can be found on the City’s COVID relief website.

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