Editor’s note: Will we pass this test?

Members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento pose during the Big Day of Giving. Nonprofits across the region are grappling with the coronavirus crisis. (Photo courtesy of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Sacramento)

Because Sacramento isn’t home to many millionaires, it’s going to take all of us to get through the corornavirus shutdown

The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented public health crisis and an economic emergency.

It’s also a defining test of our community.

As most of us hunker down at home to help stop the virus from spreading, all kinds of businesses are closing or cutting back. Arts and cultural groups, social service providers, nonprofits and others are struggling. All those who get paychecks from shut-down places are hurting as well.

Are we all going to pull together? Or will this scary new life splinter us further?

The challenge for the Sacramento region is to make sure that the necessary response to coronavirus doesn’t do lasting damage.

We don’t want families and children to go hungry. Gov. Gavin Newsom and others are encouraging Californians to donate to food banks or to volunteer with Meals on Wheels, which serves seniors at home. Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry announced plans to provide 1 million meals to students in Oakland whose schools have been shut down. Is there a generous, civic-minded Kings player who would consider doing something similar?

Like other NBA teams and players, the Kings are paying workers at shuttered Golden 1 Center through the end of the month. Who will step up after that?

Because Sacramento isn’t home to many millionaires, it’s going to take all of us to get through this.

Sacramento Area Congregations Together has created an emergency response fund with all donations through at least April 30 going to needy families and individuals. Small grants will help pay for food, rent and utilities and will be aimed at undocumented, low-wage or part-time workers without sick days or unemployment insurance.

The Sacramento Region Community Foundation has activated its disaster fund to aid nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 and to accept donations. At this point, it doesn’t plan to move up the Big Day of Giving, which is scheduled for May 7. The annual online fundraising marathon set another record in 2019 by bringing in nearly $8.4 million for 600 nonprofits and has raised $40 million since starting in 2013.

“This outbreak will have cascading effects on the nonprofits that serve the capital region. We have heard from so many nonprofit partners who report they have lost revenue or are likely to lose future revenue due to canceled events and programs. We urge you to consider giving to organizations you regularly support, and those that need your help at this unprecedented moment,” CEO Linda Beech Cutler says in a letter to the community.

UPDATE: On March 23, Mayor Darrell Steinberg, City Councilman Jay Schenirer and community leaders announced a new Donate4Sacramento campaign to raise money for families, small businesses, the homeless, nonprofits and others. It was seeded with $150,000 from Health Net, $150,000 from Sierra Health Foundation; $30,000 from Comcast and $10,000 from the Teichert Foundation.

Earlier, the Sacramento City Council approved a $1 million emergency relief fund for local businesses, but that will be emptied quickly. The city is offering no-interest loans of as much as $25,000 to restaurants, child care centers, entertainment venues and shops with no more than 25 employees. Several GoFundMe accounts have been set up to support local restaurants and others. We can also offer support by buying gift cards online now, and spending them once businesses reopen.

There are too many places to count that are in need of help during this crisis.

SN&R is in the same boat.

As our CEO Jeff vonKaenel told readers this week, many of our advertisers are closed, so have no need to buy ads. A lot of the places where we distribute the newspaper every week are also shuttered. So we made the very painful decision to suspend print publication. We hope it’s only temporary, but the numbers are daunting. In the meantime, we’re publishing updates on the local impact of coronavirus and other news and commentary, like this note, on our blog at sacramento.newsreview.com.

We hope that when the coronavirus outbreak is halted and life can return more to normal, SN&R can resume regular publication and be part of the community again. For that to be possible, we need the support of our readers more than ever. Please consider helping us at newsreview.com/sacramento/donate.

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