September 2020 Newsletter
A Message from the President
Dear members and friends of the BBS,
A very warm welcome to everyone to our first newsletter of the Fall.
It goes without saying that these past few months have been extremely challenging for so many. I am constantly reminded of, and kept positive by, the kindness and support of our British Benevolent Society community. As the Summer ends, and we continue to face a seemingly never ending global pandemic, social unrest and now tragic wildfires engulfing much of the West, I know that many of our members have been staying in touch and looking out for one another however they can.
2020 has clearly shown that our charitable mission is as relevant today as it has ever been. The BBS truly is a “community of care”. This has been demonstrated by the ongoing efforts of the charity to provide financial assistance quickly to fellow Brits that have needed it. As well, the BBS continues to be there as a friendly and welcoming organization, open to anyone. One new member in California described the BBS as a “lovely warm comfort blanket.” It can be so reassuring for those that have built lives here, but might feel anxious or homesick at times such as we are facing now. Many say, it’s just good to know the BBS exists.
We are grateful to all the contributions and volunteer work from our BBS supporters, both individuals and British-American partner organizations throughout the West Coast. In addition to direct financial assistance, BBS initiatives during Covid-19 have ranged from hosting virtual happy hours, the ever popular pub quiz, and members or experts in our community being willing to share their expertise and practical advice. We are pleased to have been able to share these recorded conversations covering medical, travel and immigration issues during Covid-19.
I cannot end without making special mention of our volunteer BBS Relief Committee. They have tirelessly worked to help our community by continuously applying empathy and a calm approach as they work together to help determine the best course of action for each relief case we receive. Thank you.
I wish you all the very best. May you and your loved ones stay safe and well.
BBS Relief &
The Coronavirus Grant Program
Since mid-March of this year, the BBS has provided over $102,000 in financial aid including 37 Covid-19 Grants of $1,500 each. The number of weekly requests for assistance has declined but the complexity of situations for those in need continues.
We have helped repatriate 3 Brits who decided that remaining in the US was not sustainable. Other requests for the Covid-19 Grants were justified by the need to help pay for essential needs such as insurance, groceries and medication.
In one of the non Covid-19 related cases, we received a query from a Brit in her 80’s. She had fallen on hard times and needed assistance covering essential medical bills, renewing her Green Card and British passport. She faced going to collections for non-payment and the stress was causing health problems. The BBS paid off all of her bills and is now working with her to renew her essential identification. In another non Covid-19 related case, the BBS contributed to the cost of a medi-flight for the victim of a hit and run in Los Angeles. The family of the victim, a young British woman, made arrangements for care upon arrival in Scotland. Though in a medically induced coma, the BBS was able to help her make her way home to be close to her family.
Save the Date
2020 BBS Annual General Meeting
We are very pleased to announce that we have scheduled our 2020 Annual General Meeting. The event will take place over Zoom. Further details will be shared in the coming weeks.
We hope you are able to join the virtual call.
When: Tuesday, November 17
Time: 5 PM
Where: The Comfort of Your Own Home
Virtual Happy Hour
Thanks to all of you who joined us for our Happy Hour last month!
It was lovely to see all of you and to connect for a quick drink with friends. Though we continue to follow guidance and socially distance, it feels good to maintain relationships and stay connected.
Assistance for Brits Impacted by the Fires on the West Coast
Our hearts go out to the communities devastated by the wildfires throughout the Western US. If you are aware of any Brits impacted, we ask that you remember that the BBS may be able to provide compassionate relief.
If any Brits are looking for help, we want them to be able to reach us here.
Do You Have A Plan?
As expats living on the West Coast, we enjoy the lifestyle offered by the beautiful landscape, but we should never ignore the potential risks posed by natural disasters. The BBS website details a range of resources to help you stay informed and prepared. Follow these simple steps now to ensure that you will be able to respond if the time comes.
- Sign up to receive local public safety alerts via Nixle.com
- Visit the Ready.GOV list detailing preparedness items to store at home
- PG&E Emergency Supply List
- Discuss an evacuation plan with your family and loved ones
This is the time to research, have important discussions and be ready.
Considering Making A Donation
We would like to thank all of our members and those who have donated to the charity during this time. Right now, more than ever, your commitment to the charity is helping people every day.
What we are seeing is that people want to help. Check out the BBS JustGiving Page if you would like to make a pledge, or let us know if you would like to start a page of your own. Visit our donations page to make a direct charitable contribution. Please contact Jenn Baker for questions.
During this time, all donations to the BBS will directly help those impacted by the pandemic.
Thank you to our Business Members
A big thank you to all of our Community Partners and Business Members.
Through their generous contributions of time, resources, and dues, they continue to support the mission of the British Benevolent Society and allow us to further connect with those most in need. Over the past few months we have relied more than ever on their behind the scenes assistance. Again, thank you!