Sacred Heart Community Service Coronavirus Response

Sacred Heart Community Service is one of the leading Silicon Valley Human Services Agencies in the fight against poverty.

By Kellen Johnson | May 15, 2020 |
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Sacred Heart Community Service is one of the leading Silicon Valley Human Services Agencies in the fight against poverty. Their wrap-around services, advocacy work, and community organizing empower low-income community members to rise up, join together, and improve conditions for themselves and others in Santa Clara County.

As the Covid Pandemic hit this community, the need for direct services like food and financial assistance for loss of income has increased dramatically. Here is a summary of Sacred Heart’s amazing response that staff and volunteers, with the support of our team at Percolator, were able to provide:

Emergency Grocery Boxes:

Sacred Heart typically serves groceries to approximately 400 families every weekday. Four years ago, through a partnership with Percolator, a Salesforce-based registration system was built to create a more dignified experience for service recipients and to collect detailed metrics that ensures consistent funding streams. This registration process, by design, involves physical interaction between volunteers and service recipients. Physical ID cards and paper tickets are passed back and forth before the food boxes are in the hands of the families that need them.

There was no way that Sacred Heart’s Pantry could close its doors when this crisis hit Santa Clara County. In fact, they needed to ramp up their food box output as families were losing their jobs and in greater need than ever of essential groceries. Through a lightning round of discovery meetings and development, Percolator created an iPad-friendly version of their previous registration system that is tailored to eliminate all physical contact. Volunteers are now able to keep a safe distance from each other and service recipients, enter the necessary member ID into the system without any contact, and register families without the risk of handling physical tickets. The only contact that occurs is when the food boxes are picked up by recipients. This solution has been so effective that when we last heard from Sacred Heart staff, they were distributing 800 food boxes in a single day, doubling their average output!

Financial Assistance:

Sacred Heart’s Family Assistance Program is powered by a coalition of several nonprofit agencies, with Sacred Heart at the helm, that distributes funds to families at risk of losing their homes due to some of the highest rent prices in the country.

As people began losing precious hours at work, or worse, losing their job altogether, it was clear that a greater level of financial assistance was needed. Destination: Home coordinated many generous gifts from corporations and foundations to fill that need. $11M was secured to provide financial relief of up to $4,000 per family whose income was impacted by the Covid pandemic.

Sacred Heart and their team of partner agencies were chosen to administer the funding. But they had only a matter of days to spin up an online application process and organize staff to qualify families for this assistance. Within hours of opening up the form, they had to temporarily close it, due to a massive influx of applications that overloaded the system. They regrouped, reopened the form, and hit their maximum number of applicants within a few hours. Staff are currently processing these applications but since there was no time to sync anything with their Salesforce instance, staff is manually laboring through these applications, which can each take up to several hours to process.

Destination: Home is now rushing to secure more donations since the demand is so high and so critical. Sacred Heart is once again working with Percolator to refine the application process and automate most of the qualification steps so that the second round of funding can reach mailboxes of those who need it much faster. Percolator is taking advantage of Salesforce’s robust integration capabilities, building a system where families can fill out a form, upload pictures of the necessary documents, and electronically sign a Release of Information, all within a matter of minutes. Once the data hits Sacred Heart’s Salesforce instance, an automated communication to applicants is triggered, and each application is assigned to the right agency and staff member, with information displayed in the most efficient way for quick review and approval. We are hopeful that staff will be approving applications in minutes, rather than hours!

We are so proud of Sacred Heart staff and volunteers, and all of the nonprofits out there who are stepping up to the challenge, putting themselves on the front lines, and lifting up so many important, but often forgotten, members of our community! Thank you all for your bravery!

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