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Giving Tuesday turns into a global day of giving and unity

Money will be given to San Diego organizations and nonprofits like Just in Time, which helps foster youth transition into adulthood.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — This Giving Tuesday turned into a global day of giving and unity as people all over the world joined together to help those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Locally, organizations and individuals have been donating to the San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund, which has raised more $11 million dollars since mid-March.

The money will be given to San Diego organizations and nonprofits like Just in Time, which helps foster youth transition into adulthood.

"Just in Time stepped into my life at a time when I really needed help," Stephanie Gomez said.

At just 20 years old, Gomez has been through a lot in her young life. She entered foster care when she was 12. At 18, she graduated from the system, unsure of what the future might hold.

"Most youth have the support of their family to depend on even when they turn 18. They're living at home. For us, it's kinda like what do we do next or where are we supposed to be living next?" she said.

That's until Just in Time stepped in. The local nonprofit is dedicated to helping others like Gomez figure out their way in the world.

"As they come out of foster care system they don't have the resources or relationships that help them become self-sufficient and have a sense of well- being," said Executive Director Don Wells. 

According to Wells, that need has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like so many these days, some of the people they help are also without jobs, food, or the ability to pay bills.

Thankfully, Just in Time is one of several local nonprofits who received a $50,000 dollar grant from the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund, run by the San Diego Foundation.

Vice President of Development Brian Zumbano said in less than eight weeks, the fund has grown to well over $11 million.

As of Tuesday, $7 million had been handed out to an estimated 60 nonprofits that handle everything from food giveaways to providing laptops for kids

The fund has even extended to no-interest loans for small businesses and organizations who will no doubt need assistance for some time.

"We're at the start of something here, not the end," said Zumbano.

As for Stephanie, she's grateful for the support. It's helped her continue her education, as well as pay bills since she's now out of work.

RELATED: San Diego County officials provide coronavirus update

RELATED: Mayor Faulconer, Illumina announce $1 million donation for San Diego schools and frontline workers



News 8 has joined forces with The San Diego Foundation to raise immediate, emergency funds for our most vulnerable neighbors in need. Here is how you can help.

We also have a Frequently Asked Questions page we will continue updating with the latest information and reports.

Click here to watch "Facts Not Fear," a News 8 Special on coronavirus from March 26, 2020.

BACKGROUND:

According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, as with any other respiratory illness:

Know how it spreads: 

There is no vaccine

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus

It is thought to spread mainly from person-person between people in close contact

And believed to be spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes

Protect yourself

Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds

If soap and water aren't available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

Avoid close contact with people who are sick

Put distance between yourselves and others

Protect others

Stay home when you are sick

Wear a facemask if you are sick

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

If you don't have tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow

Immediately wash your hands after coughing and sneezing

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

You can find information on disinfecting and cleaning on the CDC's How to Protect Yourself page.

The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

The County of San Diego has made face coverings mandatory for those working with the public including grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and similar businesses.

While officials say these face coverings are not a substitute for practices like social distancing and handwashing, there is evidence to suggest that the use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. Officials do not recommend the public use N-95 or surgical masks which are needed by health care workers and first responders.