Posts tagged with "Aid"

PATH via Tyler Renner for PATH for use by 360 Magazine

PATH Two Years Operating

PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) recently celebrated two years of operations at the Placentia Navigation Center, a 100-bed interim housing site for individuals experiencing homelessness in North Orange County. Wraparound services provided include housing navigation, linkage to healthcare and benefits, family reunification, and employment assistance. The ultimate goal is to connect participants to permanent housing.

Thanks to the strong partnerships PATH has forced, they are pleased to announce that the City of Placentia has extended their operational contract for two more years. 

On March 31, 2020, North Orange County cities, in collaboration with PATH, opened the Placentia Navigation Center. Despite numerous challenges presented by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, PATH served 179 individuals experiencing homelessness and helped 31 people obtain permanent housing in the first year of service. 

Operational capacity was limited due to pandemic regulations for congregate settings, but social distancing, regular testing and on-site vaccine clinics limited the number of COVID-19 outbreaks at the site. This site also received state Pet Assistance and Support (PAS) funding that allowed the organization to welcome participants with pets and provide them with veterinary services.

PATH is proud to report that in 2021, during their second year of operations, they have served 203 individuals and helped 41 people make it home. That is a total of 72 people that are no longer experiencing homelessness.

PATH Orange County’s latest annual report can be found HERE

“It’s been a true honor to be a part of this project from the beginning when it was just an idea, to what is now a comprehensive service-based Navigation Center that is celebrating its second anniversary. After an extensive review process, PATH was chosen to operate the Navigation Center, and they are doing an amazing job not only managing the facility, but also caring for the residents and treating them with the respect they deserve,” said Placentia Mayor Rhonda Shader. “It’s a great feeling to be able to celebrate the second anniversary and hear all of the positive stories from residents and former residents of the Center of how their lives have changed for the better. I’m so proud of the City, the residents, and all of our businesses who continue to support the Navigation Center and its mission, and I look forward to many more years of success for the Center and the residents.”

The Placentia Navigation Center is part of a regional plan to address homelessness in North Orange County. This Navigation Centers is the product of a collaboration between 13 cities (Placentia, Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, La Habra, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Orange, Villa Park, Stanton, and Yorba Linda) and is designed to provide interim housing and services for those experiencing homelessness in the area.

Tescia Uribe, PATH Chief Program Officer shared, “It takes a community joining together to accomplish great things, and the Placentia community has provided a lot of support. The Placentia Navigation Center opened at the beginning of the pandemic, but PATH’s team of essential workers continued to meet the critical needs of those we serve. As we go into our third year of operation, we are looking forward to serving more people and helping more people in North Orange County end their episode of homelessness.” 

A wide range of volunteers, community partners, local businesses, schools and faith-based groups have come together to support this site. In 2021, nearly 400 people volunteered for activities that included pet clinics, holiday parties, and support groups. These efforts allowed them to provide 7,774 meals, which included hot meals served, snack bag and non-perishable donations. Some of their major supporters include the Placentia City Council, Placentia Rotary Club, and Placentia Buzz.

Handcuff art via Allison Christensen for use by 360 MAGAZINE

HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE UNITED STATES

Human trafficking can be defined as “a crime that  involves the exploitation of a person for labor, services, or commercial sex.” 

The illegal ring of human enslavement primarily for sex acts has been a problem in the United States for quite some time. The popularity of social media combined with the ongoing stresses from the COVID-19 pandemic have only furthered the presence of human trafficking in the country.

Human enslavement has been a rampant problem often stemming from the Midwest, expanding through the rest of the country. The Midwest serves as the epicenter for trafficking endeavors for several reasons. First off, the number of federal interstates that are common make it easier to transport victims. Commerce tends to be high in areas such as St. Louis and Chicago, simplifying the traveling process of victims. The Midwest has, too, been regarded as a safe part of the country, which masks the existence of human exploitation in this part of the country.

Although servitude of humans has great linkage to the Midwest, it has an intense correlation to the Black community, specifically Black woman. According to the FBI, 53% of all children involved in juvenile prostitution arrests are Black.

This linkage stems back to the racism and oppression prevalent in US history, combined with sexualization of people of color. The Center on Poverty and Inequality generated a study to investigate this point, and found that adults generally regarded Black girls as “less innocent and more adult like than white girls.” Black women continue to be targeted, predominantly by white men. A 2012 research study found that about 85% of people who purchased sex online were white men.

These prejudices impact perpetrator motives, as they are statistically more likely to go after Black girls/ women. A two-year review of alleged enslavement occurrences found that 40% of sex trafficking victims were Black women.

The pandemic and the rise of social media, too, has played its factor in the rise of human subjugation. With many individuals suffering from economic and social deficiencies, trafficking systems have grown exponentially. The victims tend to be vulnerable, often children, in search of some form of attention. Victims often are coerced into enslavement with false promises of jobs or stability.

The growing commonness of human trafficking in the US is alarming and must come to a stop. One of the key problems that prevents victims from being identified is that they often do not believe they are victims. Victims cannot comprehend or see what they’re going through to be considered exploitation, as they often form trauma bonds with their abusers, are hidden in plain sight.

Common signs that can help us identify human trafficking:

  • Physically appearing malnourished
  • Physical injuries
  • Avoidance of eye contact, social communication; primarily with law enforcement
  • Rehearsed replies in social communication
  • Lack of identification documents
  • Staying at hotels/motels with older males
    • Victims refer to males as boyfriend or “daddy” – street slang for pimp
  • Young children serving in family restaurants
  • Individual not allowed in public alone, often spoken for

Trafficking cases continue to grow in numbers, with victims regularly becoming younger and younger. A North Carolina woman was recently sentenced to over 19 years in prison for sex trafficking a 13-year-old girl. This NC proceeding provides insight into common patterns that occur in human enslavement circumstances. It highlights the dominance of social media used in trafficking acts, the susceptibility that victims face and how perpetrators are typically somewhat close to victims.

Authorities were made aware of this case on January 1, 2020, when a 23-year-old girl was a believed victim of sex trafficking. They were able to uncover that from December 2 to the 25 of 2019, Simone McIllwain had been sex-trafficking the young girl in the Charlotte area.

The girl met McIllwain through a shared relationship, when McIllwain started advertising the girl online for commercial sex. She arranged that the 13-year-old girl would perform sex acts in her own hotel room, while she obtained segments of the profits.

She pleaded guilty of sex trafficking of a minor in April 2021, when she was placed in federal custody. Now, she has been sentenced to 235 months in federal prison and 20 years of supervised release.

National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 373-7888

SMS: 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”)

Website: http://humantraffickinghotline.org/.

Written By: McKinley Franklin 

Heather Skovlund for use by 360 Magazine

Top Stories This Month

We’re nearly one month into 2022, and the year has already packed a significant punch. From devastating natural disasters to tragedy in the wake of 2021, let’s recap the most major events of 2022 thus far.

Tongatapu underwater volcano triggers overwhelming tsunami

On Saturday, January 15, an underwater volcano in the Pacific Ocean erupted, causing a tsunami. The underwater volcano is located off the coast of the western island of Tongatapu, near American Samoa and Fiji. After the volcano eruption occurred, satellite image depicted large clouds of ash, gas and steam that reached up to 20 kilometers (12.4 mils) into the atmosphere.

A statement released by the New Zealand High Commission on Monday, January 17 illustrated the long-lasting impacts of the underwater eruption, stating that, “A thick layer of ash remains across Tongatapu.” Both Australia and New Zealand have responded rapidly to aid the island, but efforts have been halted due to the continuing ash that descends from the volcano.

The volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami that devastated the island of Tongatapu. The effects of the tsunami have been fatal, with the UN confirming 4 deaths so far as of Tuesday, January 18. The tsunami sent enormous waves, forcing the people of Tonga to escape to higher ground. The tsunami ultimately cut off internet connection to the island, sending the rest of the world into a frenzy.

Another complication surrounding aid efforts for the island surrounds the COVID-19 pandemic. Tonga has withstood any outbreaks of COVID-19 during the duration of the pandemic, and want to keep it this way. All military staff from New Zealand that were sent to assist the island were fully vaccinated and able to follow all protocols determined by Tonga.

Fires swarm New York City

In what seems to be a series of devastation for the Bronx in New York City, there has been an alarming number of fires in the area. The first damaging and lethal fire occurred on Sunday, January 9, and left 17 people dead. The major fire struck a 19-story building at 333 East 181st Street and was the deadliest the city has seen since the 1990 Happy Land Social Club fire.

The unprecedented fire resulted in 32 people hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. Of the 17 victims left dead, nine were children. The source of this fire was a “malfunctioning electric space heater,” NYC Major Eric Adams declared at a press conference. In the 19-story building, the fire began upon the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building. The fire resulted due to complications with the heater, and the blaze consumed the bedroom it was in, and then spread to the entire apartment. The apartment’s door was open, and the thick smoke spread throughout the whole building complex.

When the New York City Fire Department responded to the fire, they were faced with dense smoke and fire that devoured the hallways of the apartment complex. Individuals were found throughout stairways on each floor of the complex in cardiac arrest. Daniel Nigro, commissioner of the FDNY, said that the injuries of victims were primarily from smoke inhalation.

Wednesday, January 19, the Bronx rapper Cardi B announced that she would cover the funeral costs for all 17 victims. She issued a statement that read, “I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish that the families of the victims are experiencing, but I hope that not having to worry about the costs associated with burying their loved ones will help as they move forward and heal. I send my prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this horrific tragedy.”

Fat Joe, fellow native to the Bronx, hosted a fundraiser Saturday, January 22, at New York’s HOT 197 and 107.5 WLBS over the radio to raise money for the families of the 17 victims. “This is my village, this is my tribe,” he said, “It’s 14 degrees outside right now. People are homeless, people are displaced, we gotta help them as much as we can.” Fat Joe has already successfully raise $1M for the families of the Bronx fire victims.

Devastatingly, another fire struck the Bronx only a little over a week after and three miles south of this first catastrophic fire. Tuesday, January 18, another Bronx apartment building had a fire start, leading to a partial building collapse. This fire was not as extreme as the last, but still left at least one woman dead, with two injured in stable condition.

The exact reasoning for the fire has yet to be confirmed – it was first regarded as a gas-related explosion, but Con Ed, an electric and gas service, deemed that there has been no evidence that the fire was gas-related. The FDNY searched through debris for some type of indication of a main start point for the fire, but nothing has been pinpointed.

Bystanders told News 4 that “they heard at least two explosions, followed by flames. Onlookers at first thought it was snowing, until they realized it was ash from the fire coming down instead.”

Train robberies hit Los Angeles

Shredded boxes and packages pile up in a section of the Union Pacific (UP) train tracks in downtown Los Angeles. The mounds of litter are from recent train robberies of train cargo containers. Packages from retailers like Amazon and REI have been ransacked. The robbers have stolen from nearly 90 train containers each day, estimates PC, the country’s major rail freight company.

UP sent a letter to Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon highlighting the affects of the train robberies in his jurisdiction. In total, train robberies have climbed by 356% from October 2020 to October 2021. The estimated total of stolen goods amounts to $5 million from the railroad alone.

UP communicates that they have begun discussions about discontinuing traffic through Los Angeles County. The letter also states that FedEx and UPS are contemplating deflecting shipping from the area.

“We do not take this effort lightly, particularly during the supply chain crisis, as this drastic change to our operations will create significant impacts and strains throughout the local, state, and national supply chain systems,” the letter to Gascon read out.

UP senior director of public affairs, Lupe Valdez, revealed that, “we are making arrests, but what our officers are seeing on the ground is that people are basically being arrested, there is no bail, they come out the next day and come back to rob our trains.”

The UP company criticizes the district attorney’s office in their letter for not properly punishing the criminals that are stealing from the cargo containers. The letter states, “without any judicial deterrence or consequence, it is no surprise that over the past year UP has witnessed the significant increase in criminal rail theft described above.”

Fashion legend André Leon Talley dead at 73

Tuesday, January 19, André Leon Talley passed away. Talley is a true icon in the fashion world, having been a former renowned creative director and editor for Vogue for a multitude of years. It was reported that Talley was struggling with an unknown illness, of which he lost his fight against. His remembered by colleagues and admirers worldwide. 

Racist MLK TikTok video gets taken down

TikTok user @trevon_sellers posted a shocking video, with a caption that read “HAPPY MLK DAY.” In the video, a poster board sign sits propped up against what seems to be an empty road near some farmland. The poster reads “SLAVE 4 SALE” with two confederate flags around the text. In the video, the popular song “Watch Me (Whip / Nae Nae)” by Silentó plays, as the chorus sings “Watch me whip,” a young boy dressed up in a white tee with khaki pants physically whips an African American man with a belt. The original TikTok can still be accessed through the stitched videos of other creators.

The video has since been taken down by TikTok and has gained attention, appalling that this type of racist, insensitive video would be posted on Martin Luther King Day, the holiday set to commemorate the life and work of the civil rights movement leader Dr. King. 

Regina King’s son dies by suicide

Friday, January 21, Oscar-winner Regina King’s son Ian Alexander Jr. died by suicide. King verified the heartbreaking news with a statement to PEOPLE on Friday. “Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian. He is such a bright light who cared so deeply about the happiness of others. Our family asks for respectful consideration during this private time. Thank you.”

Amidst the tragic revelation, fans searched the internet for some type of sign, and found some truly poignant messages. A series of disturbing tweets were the last messages that Ian posted were his last messages to the world. “You know that episode of SpongeBob where they go inside his brain and it’s a bunch of mini spongebobs just losing their s–t…..yea that one really hits home,” he tweeted only five days prior to his death. A separate tweet after this one read, “I don’t think instagram is healthy for me.”

Sarah Palin tests positive for COVID, delaying New York Times defamation trial

Monday, January 24, Sarah Palin’s defamation trial against the New York Times was pushed back due to her testing positive for COVID-19. She was tested three individual times with rapid coronavirus tests, and Judge Jed Rakoff ended up having to postpone the trial due to a fourth positive test. “She is, of course, unvaccinated,” Rakoff stated. The trial was delayed until February 3.

The trial involves a 2017 New York Times editorial that falsely connected her political action committee to a 2011 mass shooting in Arizona. Palin took out a lawsuit, arguing that the Times defamed her through “falsely stated as a matter of fact to millions of people that Mrs. Palin incited Jared Loughner’s January 8, 2011, shooting rampage at a political event in Tucson, Arizona, during which he shot nineteen people, severely wounding United States Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.” 

Meat Loaf dies at 74

Rockstar Meat Loaf reportedly died on January 20, 2022, at the age of 74. The “I’d Do Anything For Love,” singer allegedly was battling COVID-19. Although no official cause of death has been publicized, TMZ reported this information, asserting that Meat Loaf was “seriously ill” before he passed.

Meat Loaf had a fabulous career in the realm of rock music that lasted six decades. He sold millions of records, released Bat Out Of Hell which is one of the best-selling albums in all of history (with over 43 million copies sold) and was renowned for starring in Rocky Horror Picture Show, Fight Club and many other television and film specials.

“Weekends with Adele” Las Vegas residency postponed

Adele’s residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas has been postponed. The residency was set to begin Friday, January 21, through mid-April. The “Hello” singer took to social media to announce that the show as not ready as half of her team was sick with COVID. She said, “I’m so sorry, but my show ain’t ready… We’ve tried absolutely everything that we can to put it together in time and for it to be good enough for you, but we’ve been absolutely destroyed by delivery delays and COVID.”

Bridgeport woman dead after first meeting with man on Bumble

Lauren Smith-Fields, 23-years-old at the time, was found December 12 in her apartment, unresponsive. Police were called to the residence by a white man that Smith-Fields had met three days preceding her death on Bumble. The two were reportedly drinking in the apartment the night before, and in the morning the man awoke to blood coming out of her nose.

This man was not detained nor investigated further by the Bridgeport Police Department. Smith-Fields family is preparing to sue the city and the police department, alleging in the filed notice that the police “”failed to implement the proper crime scene investigation team to collect physical evidence,” and “refuse to view the last person to see Smith-Fields before she died as a person of interest.”

On January 24, the Connecticut chief medial examiner’s officer reported that the cause of death was “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of fentanyl, promethazine, hydroxyzine and alcohol,” with the medical examiner ultimately ruling that the death was an “accident.”

Janet Jackson Lifetime documentary premieres January 28 & 29

Janet Jackson’s brand-new Lifetime documentary premieres on January 28 and 29. The doc commemorates Janet’s first album, Janet Jackson (1982). The doc premiering on Lifetime and A&E delves deeper into the life story of worldwide pop icon Janet Jackson. Offering raw perspective on the journey that Janet has been on, the doc has been in the works for over three years. Opening to the world for the first time, the doc considers the tragedies, successes and most impacting moments that Janet has been through thus far.

Amazon Africa HQ dispute

Amazon has plans to expand their headquarters (HQ) to Africa, but a lawsuit from descendants of South Africa, like the Khoi and San, are urging to stop construction of the new space on what they consider sacred land. The new HQ will be built in Cape Town, with the project scheduled to see the development of a hotel, retail offices/ homes and with an Amazon. Khoi and San leaders have criticized the construction as the site of the new HQ would be built at the meeting of the Black River and the Liesbeek, sanctified to both groups.  

39 people presumed missing from human smuggling

The United States Coast Guard patrolled the ocean off the coast of Florida on January 25 in search of 39 missing people. The missing individuals are believed to be unaccounted for due to human smuggling.

A good Samaritan found one survivor floating atop an overturned boat 45 miles east of Fort Pierce. The survivor stated that he was accompanied by 39 other people who left the island of Bimini, off the coast of the Bahamas, on the night of Saturday, January 22. Due to intense weather conditions, the vessel had overturned. He, too, reported that no one was wearing life jackets.

This comes after the Coast Guard and the Royal Bahamas Defense Force diverted 88 Haitians a massive freighter on Friday, January 21 close to Great Inagua in the Bahamas. The same day, the Coast Guard informed that 32 people were liberated from another nullified boat 5 miles west of Bimini.

NYPD officers killed in Harlem shooting

Friday January 21 two New York Police Department officers were fatally shot after responding to a domestic disruption in Harlem. The officers, Wilbert Morea and Jason Rivera, were both in their 20s. Rivera died during the shooting, while Morea died on Tuesday January 25 after going through surgery.

The funeral for officer Rivera was held on Friday January 28, where he was advanced to Detective 1st Grade. Rivera’s widow, Dominique Luzuriaga, spoke heart wrenching words about her husband and their life together thus far. “I would say good morning to you all, but in fact it’s the worst morning ever. Today I’m still in this nightmare I wished I never had.”

Luzuriaga spoke on the heartache she went through after recognizing her husband’s death. She said, “I couldn’t believe you left me. Seeing you in a hospital bed wrapped in sheets, not hearing you when I was talking to you, broke me. I asked why. I said to you, ‘Wake up, baby, I’m here.’ The little bit of hope I had that you would come back to life just to say goodbye or say ‘I love you’ one more time has left. I was lost. I’m still lost.”

Snowfall overwhelms the East Coast

The weekend of January 29 left the East Coast engulfed in snow. Record snowfall counts were reported spanning the region in sections of Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Blizzard warnings were in full affect in locations such as Massachusetts and Maine. The storm tuned “bomb cycle” left around 16 million facing winter weather alerts.

Traffic collision in North Las Vegas leaves 9 dead

Saturday January 29 a car crash involving six automobiles in North Las Vegas resulted in the death of nine people and one known person in critical condition. Witnesses reported that a Dodge Challenger ran a red light and was traveling “at a high rate of speed” according to local authorities.

15 people were mixed up in the crash, and it is unknown if the Dodge Challenger driver was amongst the nine who died. Alexander Cuevas, public information officer for the North Las Vegas Police spoke on the crash, stating, “We have not seen a mass-causality traffic collision like this before,” as claimed by ABC News.

Rihanna announced pregnancy

It was discovered earlier that global superstar Rihanna is pregnant with her first child. Her baby bump was revealed when she was photographed with boyfriend A$AP Rocky in his hometown of Harlem. At the time, the couple was seen holding hands, with Rihanna wearing a long pink puffer jacket adorned with jewels over her stomach

The couple went public in November of 2020, and have grown closer since the pandemic, after being friends for several years. Both have separately talked about wanting kids together at some point, with Rihanna suggesting she wanted kids before she turned 42. According to MSN, she once stated, “I’m a Black woman. I came from a Black woman, who came from a Black woman, who came from a Black woman, and I’m going to give birth to a Black woman. It’s a no-brainer. That’s who I am. It’s the core of who I am in spirit and DNA.” No other information on the pregnancy has been released. 

Historically Black universities receive bomb threats

January 31, one day preceding the beginning of black history month, an array of historically Black universities were posed with bomb threats. Around six schools were threatened, including Albany State University, Bethune-Cookman University, Bowie State University, Delaware State University, Howard University and Southern University and A&M College.

The FBI was made “aware of the series of bomb threats around the country and we are working with our law enforcement partners to address any potential threats,” as communicated by the bureau in a statement. Investigations continued through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to ensure the safety of all.

Each school answered to the threats differently, with some urging students to stay put in a safe spot until further information was made available. Other schools cancelled classes fully and others went straight into lockdown. By around afternoon Eastern time, a vast majority of the HBCUs raised their lockdown orders.

Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

Tornadoes Devastate Central and Southern United States

A devastating stream of tornadoes unleased late Friday December 10 and early Saturday December 11 across sections of the central and southern United States. In accordance with information from the Storm Prediction Center, there were at least 50 tornado reports. The states affected include Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee.

Click HERE to see how you can assist and support the victims of these destructive tornadoes.

The most substantial damage arose as Tornadoes and strong winds broke down a nursing home in Arkansas, an Amazon warehouse in western Illinois and an inhabited candle factory in Kentucky. People were killed in all separate incidents and responders have been struggling to rescue survivors.

At least one death out of an anticipated two in Arkansas has been credited to the collapsing of a nursing home. Several were trapped in the nursing home before being saved. Around 20 people were injured at the nursing home, and eventually all were taken out of the home and accounted for. Another individual in Arkansas was reported dead after being trapped in a Dollar General when the storm hit, as reported by Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook.

One of the tornadoes fell upon an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois on the night of Friday December 10. Authorities were unable to recount the exact number of workers in the Amazon warehouse because “the warehouse does not employ a ‘set staff.’” It has been verified, however, that at least two individuals died when the warehouse collapsed. Edwardsville police chief Michael Fillback validated this report on Saturday December 11 and stated that an additional person was hospitalized.

Fillback also communicated that rescue operations were not at ease due to misplaced power lines, concrete and extra water everywhere from the fire suppression system. An OSHA investigation was opened on Monday December 13 to dig deeper into the collapse of the Amazon warehouse.

On the night of December 10, another tornado hit the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory in the Mayfield, Kentucky. Inside, around 110 people were working, and dozens were anticipated to be dead there. At least 40 people were rescued from the candle factory, but piles of metal and corrosive chemicals that toppled the factory limit the number of anticipated survivors that could be found alive.

Kyanna Parsons-Perez, survivor of the catastrophe that struck the candle factory, recounted the events of that night. She explained that workers had been hurried into a safety area before the storm officially hit. Parsons-Perez recounts seeing “a little dust of wind. My ears start popping. And it was like the building, we all just rocked back and forth, and then boom — everything fell on us,” Parasons-Perez told CNN’s Boris Sanchez.

During the devasting storm, Parsons-Perez broadcasted the tragedy on Facebook Live and made phone calls to 911 and other family members. She recounts realizing that rescuers were there when she felt pressure from people walking on the debris above her. “I was screaming like, ‘Sir, can you please just get this so I can move my leg?’ He said, ‘Ma’am, there’s about 5 feet worth of debris on top of you,'” Parsons-Perez recounts.

As of Monday December 13, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said that there is a confirmed number of 64 deaths across Kentucky, and that it could take some time to account for the full number of fatalities and damage that fully hit the state. Beshear noted that at least 105 individuals were unaccounted for as of that Monday morning. At least 13 people in the other varying states have been confirmed dead.

Emergency workers consisting of 300 members of the National Guard have been searching for survivors, searching through wreckage and remains and delivering water and generators to residents of Western Kentucky. Beshear talked of the damage during a press conference, stating “I’m not doing so well today and I’m not sure how many of us are. The people of Western Kentucky have gone through an unspeakable trauma. The devastation is unlike anything I have seen in my life,” Beshear stated.

President Biden is scheduled to travel to Kentucky on Wednesday, December 14 to assess damages and aid in the recovery processes. “We’re going to get this done. We’re going to be there as long as it takes to help,” Biden stated during a briefing on Monday December 13 regarding federal reaction to the destructive tornadoes. Biden ensures that he does not want to get in the way of rescue efforts, but to just provide aid to the community that truly needs it in these trying times.

By: McKinley Franklin

image by Sara Davidson for use by 360 Magazine

Elektra Music Group × The New Orleans Musicians’ Assistance Foundation

Elektra Music Group is proud to work with The New Orleans Musicians’ Assistance Foundation’s (the 501(c)3 nonprofit, which operates the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic) Makin’ Groceries program, to distribute hurricane preparedness kits to more than 100 elder and medically vulnerable New Orleans performers. Elektra Gives Back, an employee-led philanthropic initiative within Elektra Music Group, brings national attention to the Makin’ Groceries community health efforts and hurricane preparedness initiative. Makin’ Groceries, Elektra Gives Back, and partnering organizations are asking community members to sponsor kits or supply items, including: first aid essentials, garbage bags, flashlights, sunscreen, batteries, and more, so that New Orleans culture bearers served by the program can safely weather the 2021 storm season.

Suzi Akyuz, Elektra Music Group Vice President of Marketing, said, “New Orleans is such an important city arguably the most important  in music history and culture. Through Elektra Gives Back, the Elektra Music Group is proud to join the New Orleans Musicians’ Assistance Foundation in the vital work they do in protecting the city’s elder and medically vulnerable culture bearers. With hurricane season already upon us, NOMAF’s Makin’ Groceries and hurricane preparedness initiatives are in desperate need of support. We’re glad to offer any and all help that we can.”

Arejay Hale of GRAMMY Award winning band Halestorm adds, “New Orleans has always held a special place in my heart. I’ve had so many amazing experiences performing there with my band, and spending time in that great city. The musical history and culture is so rich, with no shortage of talent. I’m so proud to be a member of the Warner Music Group family, who are working to bring awareness to the great efforts of the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic’s Makin Groceries program and their hurricane preparedness kits through Elektra Gives Back. So many local musicians and unsung heroes need our help, especially with hurricane season upon us. Please go to The New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic right now to learn more and to find out how you can get involved!”

Launched in June 2020, Makin’ Groceries provides weekly, home-delivered care packages of nutritious food items, prepared meals, health education, and lagniappe to a group of 100+ culture bearers and their families. Led and produced by a network of local musicians, community health workers, volunteers, and businesses, the program is designed in collaboration with those served to show gratitude and admiration for their profound influence on New Orleans culture.

“What began as a pandemic response program to ensure the health and safety of culture bearers has evolved into a multi-year program with a ton of meaningful partners,” says Erica Dudas, Managing Director of the New Orleans Musicians’ Assistance Foundation. Makin’Groceries Program Director, Arsène DeLay adds, “We have a unique opportunity to make a difference when it comes to addressing health inequities and food insecurity at the ground level. All while strengthening our communal bonds, celebrating a love of music, and showing gratitude to our culture bearers. This is what collective care looks like in action and we need people to give back.”

Makin’ Groceries and partners will continue to ensure New Orleans culture bearers have access to healthy food and feel safe, mentally healthy, and cared for during Hurricane Season with a little help from friends near and far, who they invite to contribute by purchasing from their Amazon Wishlist or giving directly at nomaf.org/makingroceries.

Zoo illustration by Maria Soloman for 360 Magazine, toys for tots

TOYS FOR TOTS ANNOUNCES 2020 CAMPAIGN RESULTS 

Toys for Tots, the U.S. Marine Corps’ premiere community outreach program, delivered a record setting 20.2 million toys to 7.4 million less fortunate children in 2020.

2020 was a year unlike any other, causing economic devastation for so many. COVID-19 took hold early in the year, leaving many millions of families in dire need. While Toys for Tots is primarily known as a Christmastime charity, we did not want to wait until the holiday season to provide support. Marines are known for being the first to fight and for running toward the sound of battle. During the spring and summer of the COVID-19 crisis, Toys for Tots partnered with Good360 to provide immediate relief and assistance by distributing 2 million toys, games, and books to COVID-impacted families. These gifts provided many benefits during this extraordinary time of need. They helped to fight boredom, relieved anxiety in children, and facilitated a return to normalcy. The gifts even contributed to the educational development of our Nation’s children, especially while they’ve been out of school.

As the pandemic continued to spread–causing states and municipalities to impose significant restrictions–the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, in conjunction with Marine Forces Reserve, are looking ahead to the holiday season to making preparations for how best to collect and distribute toys to children in need.

COVID restrictions have greatly impacted our local campaign operations and significantly limited the number of volunteers permitted to help collect, sort, and distribute toys. In response, the Marines and local campaign coordinators of the Marine Toys for Tots Program rose to the occasion, and established over 800 local toy collection and distribution campaigns in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. As anticipated, the demand from families with children seeking support was much greater than the supply. But the Marines, in their typical fashion, found ways to improvise and adapt. They were very innovative about how they collected and distributed toys. They established curbside and drive-through collection and distribution methods, and enlisted support from other local social service agencies in order to accomplish the mission.

Seeing a deficit of over a million toys develop in November, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation sent out many communications soliciting for help. The American public heard our appeal and recognized the need for aid. Hundreds of thousands of individuals, as well as a record number of organizations serving as National Corporate Sponsors, answered our call. Significant donations allowed for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to augment local toy drives with over 8 million toys, valued at over $77 million.

Toys for Tots does not set a goal of children supported in a given year–rather, our goal is to support every family with children seeking our assistance. The American public has never let Toys for Tots down. With the help from so many, Toys for Tots was able to accomplish our mission distributing a record number of over 20 million toys to 7.4 million children, who otherwise would have gone without. “Unprecedented” seems to be the buzz word for most 2020 events, and there’s no better way to describe the generosity of the American public and our Corporate Sponsors – it was truly unprecedented. 

2020 Accomplishments

  • Distributed 20 million toys to 7.4 million less fortunate children from 808 local campaigns in all 50 states
  • Distributed over 2 million toys, books, and games to COVID-impacted families outside of the holiday season
  • Distributed 1.8 million books to children through the Toys for Tots Literacy Program
  • Distributed toys to 180,000 children through the Toys for Tots Native American Program
  • With support from Toys for Tots Sponsors, augmented local toy drives with over 8 million toys valued at over $77 million
  • Met all 20 standards of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance and maintained a 96:4 Program to Support Ratio

About Marine Toys for Tots

Toys for Tots, a 73-year national charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, provides happiness and hope to less fortunate children.  The toys, books, and other gifts collected and distributed by the Marines offer these children recognition, confidence, and a positive memory for a lifetime. It is such experiences that help children become responsible citizens and caring members of their community. Last year, the Marine Toys for Tots Program fulfilled the holiday hopes and dreams of over 7 million less fortunate children in over 800 communities nationwide.  Since 1947, over 272 million children have been assisted. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is a non-for-profit organization authorized by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of Defense to provide fundraising and other necessary support for the annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.  For more information, visit www.toysfortots.org.

COVID-19 Financial Losses in the Finance Sector

Financial losses from treating COVID-19 patients could devastate the health care sector, experts say. 

The federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) includes hundreds of billions of dollars of funding for the health care sector, but with health care facilities facing unprecedented expenditures, that might not be enough, according to an economics expert at Rice University and a physician at Texas Children’s Hospital.

The cost of caring for COVID-19 patients is predicted to exceed that of typical insurance reimbursement in part because of steps required to prevent the spread of the disease, according to a new blog post by Vivian Ho, the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics at Rice, and Dr. Heidi Russell, a physician at Texas Children’s Hospital and associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine.

Legislation adds $100 billion in funds to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund to pay health care providers for expenses or lost revenues attributable to the coronavirus. The funds are only to be used to reimburse for expenses and lost revenues that have not been repaid from other sources. Eligible health care providers comprise for-profit, not-for-profit and public entities as well as Medicare- or Medicaid-enrolled suppliers and providers that deliver diagnoses, testing or care to individuals with possible or actual cases of COVID-19.

Before the outbreak, administrative costs totaled about 8% of all health care spending, the researchers said. “Currently, administrative needs like planning how patients will be tested and where coronavirus patients will be treated as well as allocating limited space and PPE (personal protective equipment) resources are taking up a larger percentage,” they wrote.

Smaller community hospitals, particularly those in rural areas, will be equipped to manage only the mildest cases of COVID-19, the researchers said. Transferring sicker patients to larger centers prepared for the most intensely ill will cause additional strain on already overloaded facilities.

“Patients with underlying illnesses, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease, are always more complicated and costlier to care for,” the researchers wrote. “These are the majority of patients being hospitalized with COVID-19.”

Given that hospital and physician expenditures represented $1.9 trillion in spending in 2018, $100 billion may be “woefully inadequate” to compensate health care providers for unreimbursed expenses and lost revenue from the pandemic, the researchers said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the U.S. health care system,” the researchers concluded. “Our communities, medical providers and health care facilities are responding in an unprecedented manner to prevent the system from collapsing.

“The extraordinarily high health care costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic will force a new debate regarding how much health care providers should be reimbursed for their services, why U.S health care costs are so high, and what amount taxpayers are willing to accept in order to maintain national health security.”

Ho is also a professor in the Department of Economics at Rice and a professor in the Department of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. Her research examines the effects of economic incentives and regulations on the quality and costs of health care.

Tzu Chi USA Spreads Love After California Wildfires

The Camp Fire, which began on November 8, is now the deadliest wildfire in California history with 44 fatalities.It razed through more than 117,000 acres in Northern California and destroyed over 7,000 buildings. The Woolsey Fire, too, has burned through more than 93,000 acres and destroyed at least 435 structures in Los Angeles County.

Once these fires started, Tzu Chi USA’s Northwest Regional Office volunteers quickly mobilized. On November 9 & 10, they distributed emergency supplies including 550 blankets to residents sheltered at the Neighborhood Church of Chico to offer residents physical comfort as the flames continue. Some slept in their own vehicles and others were forced to sleep on the lawn.

In Southern California, too, Tzu Chi volunteers assessed the situation at shelters across Los Angeles (including at the Palisades Charter High School, Taft High School, Pierce College, and Canoga Park High School) to see what they could do to help.

There is still a concern for the region’s safety, as fierce winds lingering in the region are anticipated to start two major wildfires west of Los Angeles, including one that has already killed two in Malibu. Starting Tuesday, November 13, these winds may escalate to hurricane-like force. Residents of this region are still at risk of critical danger, and Tzu Chi USA’s headquarters has already completed its first assessment and is ready for its next steps.

Until further aid may be given, Tzu Chi volunteers from across the country will head a street fundraising campaign this weekend across the US to raise funds for those who’ve suffered severe losses through California’s fires. Volunteers from Tzu Chi’s Northwestern Regional office will also continue to distribute blankets to help residents stay warm.

Still, our volunteers will need your help. Contributions can help provide someone with a warm blanket, a hot meal, or a cash card to let a family decide what they need most to move forward. Help us combat the California Wildfires and instead ignite compassion at www.tzuchi.us/donate/disaster-relief

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S AUCTION

A fashion and cinematic icon, Audrey Hepburn was one of the most beautiful women ever to grace a Hollywood screen, and her most famous film was undoubtedly ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

Thanks to her, the whole concept of the ‘little black dress’ became a thing, and Holly Golightly – the star of the film – became a household name. Now, you can own one of the most enduring images of cinema: an original, full-sized coloured photographer’s proof of Audrey Hepburn from the 1963 film, with Holly wearing that dress and that tiara.

Proceeds from this auction will go to the Help A Life Foundation, which was formed in 2007 with the goal of housing and educating adolescent orphaned girls in Ethiopia, and providing them with a secure and supportive environment.