While many of them are struggling to make ends meet, 2009 CNN Hero Doc Hendley, a former bartender, wanted to do something to help.
Hendley and his team of volunteers have started to prepare care packages in his hometown of Boone, North Carolina. The group distributes the packages, which are filled with 40 meals and other household items, to restaurant workers fired across the state.
“The problem is that income will still struggle for many of these places and that many workers will still be unemployed as businesses try to operate more leanly,” said Hendley. “Many of these workers make a living from paycheck to paycheck, or try to make their way to school, or a single mother tries to take care of the children.”
Boxes include fresh fruits and vegetables, coffee, fresh bread and toilet paper, among other food and hygiene items. Hendley said his hope is not only to help people survive, but also to help them thrive during this time of uncertainty.
Since March, his organization has already distributed more than 72,000 meals.
“These boxes have really become something that our community looks forward to every week,” said Hendley. “I saw a single mom come and pick up a box for her and her children. And literally when she opened it, she just started crying.”
Wine to Water has also reorganized its international work, filling a crucial gap in access and education for people in remote regions where clean, running water is scarce. The group works in Tanzania, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Kenya and Nepal.
“We were able to move very quickly from our target, which is usually on water and sanitation, and we really focus on hygiene specifically related to hand washing and other things that would help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, “said Hendley.
When the epidemic broke out, the organization’s water filter factories around the world began mass-producing portable handwashing stations, which are located in high-traffic areas such as police stations, dispensaries and large hospitals.
Wine to Water’s international response programs at Covid-19 have so far reached over 32,000 people.
“It is so inspiring to see how many people have fallen behind and supported our programs around the world,” said Hendley. “When the sun rises after the storm ends, I think as a people we are going to go through this situation stronger and more together than we have ever been.”