SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif — It only comes around every 10 years and the deadline to make sure you're counted is quickly approaching.
Facing delays caused by the pandemic, the Census Bureau earlier this year pushed back wrapping up field operations for the once-a-decade headcount from the end of July to the end of October. That date was recently moved up to the end of September.
Virginia Lambit stopped by one of the U.S. Census caravans, which have been passing out food in an effort to increase outreach all around the county.
“They’re working very hard. I already did mine when I first got my paperwork in the mail,” Lambit said.
Lambit knows why it’s important.
“It will actually help our community, so you know we’ll be accounted for and we’ll get funding for our community,” she added.
But this year, like in so many other ways, is not like others. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a big bump in the road for census workers who typically hit the streets for face-to-face interaction.
Joanne Fields, a census 2020 coordinator in San Diego, said that they had many events planned that simply were no longer safe to hold due to the virus.
“COVID-19 has made us do things differently and that includes community outreach,” Fields said at one of the bureau’s caravan locations. “We had to get creative and innovative and we also knew there was a need for food for our seniors.”
The caravans are a way to get information out to the community while also providing support with food giveaways and other help.
“It’s so important that we get everybody counted,” said David Bennett.
Bennett, who also works for the U.S. Census bureau in San Diego, explained just how important it is for people to get their information in before the September 30 deadline.
“There’s $675 billion of federal mandated funds that go to education, roads, infrastructure hospitals that get allocated based on this count,” he said.
This is also the first-year people, can submit their answer to the nine census questions online.