A nonprofit in Dallas says the need for one of its services has doubled within a matter of months – a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic -- but they haven't given up hope that they can still have a positive impact on the community.
Rainbow Days was established in 1982 and serves about 9,000 children annually through partnerships with more than 80 schools and shelters. The organization specifically targets children and youth ages 4 to 18 experiencing adversity due to poverty, abuse, addiction or homelessness.
The nonprofit also assists families living in hotels by delivering food to those families at least twice a month.
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CEO Tiffany Beaudine said the program has doubled in need as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s gone from 65 kids at the beginning of March to now we serve over 138 children and families,” Beaudine said. “Every time we’d come up with food, there’d be families standing there asking us how they could enroll their child.”
Beaudine said the drastic increase in numbers was due largely to parents whose income has been impacted by the economic downturn. She said they’re able to meet the demand because of donors and their partnership with Crossroads Community Services, a Dallas-based food pantry.
“Many of them are hourly workers, so they’ve lost they’ve lost their jobs,” she said. “There’s definitely an added layer of anxiety and uncertainty on what’s going to happen next.”
Julie is a Dallas mother with four children and a recipient of assistance from Rainbow Days. Her family recently moved out of a hotel. NBC 5 caught up with her and her four children to talk about the impact the program has had during the coronavirus pandemic.
After being on her feet all day, Julie said her job still isn’t done. She comes home to cook and clean for her children but said it’s worth it.
“They are the only valuable thing I have in the world,” she said.
Julie is an essential worker with a modest income trying to survive a pandemic.
“With the kids being home and me going to work every day, it’s not been easy,” she said. “The more the kids are home, the more we spend.”
That’s where Rainbow Days steps in. The goal is to meet immediate and emotional needs. Delivering food, retraining destructive thoughts and promoting positive behavior is more important now than ever for the organization.
In addition to providing basic needs like food, members are trained to help increase each child’s emotional and social learning skills and prevent negative generational cycles through both school-based and shelter-based programs.
“We are trying to instill in them belief for themselves and belief for tomorrow,” Beaudine said.
Julie’s children each have their own talents and strengths that she said have been fostered by the time they’ve spent with trained counselors and staff members at Rainbow Days.
“I want a better life for them. I want the best for them,” she said.
Rainbow Days serves roughly 9,000 children annually.