Financial assistance given to immigrant families during COVID-19 pandemic

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Communications, Outreach and Marketing Press Release

Jan. 25, 2020


Financial assistance given to immigrant families during COVID-19 pandemic

DALLAS - Since November 2020, the City of Dallas Welcoming Communities and Immigrant Affairs Division partnered with Communities Foundation of Texas and Crossroads Community Services to provide grocery assistance using gift cards through the Emma Lazarus Resilience Fund (ELRF). The fund provides direct financial assistance to immigrant and refugee individuals and families impacted by COVID-19.

For the families awarded, each member in the households received a $100 Walmart gift card this past holiday season. A total of 156 households consisting of 789 individuals collectively received $78,900 worth of gift cards.

The ELRF was established by the City with its partners, in addition to a sizeable contribution from the Open Society Foundation and United Metropolitan Dallas. With the new collaboration with Crossroads Community Services, a total of $678,900 in financial assistance has been distributed to Dallas’ residents who were not eligible for federal COVID-19 relief since the creation of the fund.  

“The creation of the Emma Lazarus Resilience Fund is in alignment with the City of Dallas’ core value of equity,” said City of Dallas’ Chief of Equity and Inclusion, Liz Cedillo-Pereira. “Thanks to the public-private partnerships between the City of Dallas, Communities Foundation of Texas and Crossroads Community Services, aid can be distributed quickly to immigrant families in need. We hope that this response to the pandemic will lead towards a more welcoming and resilient future for Dallas.”

Communities Foundation of Texas is administering the ELRF through nonprofit organizations that were selected through an established open application process. The recent effort with Crossroads Community Services provided an opportunity for increased financial support for families that qualified.

“Communities Foundation of Texas is grateful for the expanded partnership with the City of Dallas and Crossroads Community Services to help provide additional resources to our immigrant and refugee neighbors in need through the Emma Lazarus Resilience Fund,’ said Senior Director of Community Philanthropy for Communities Foundation of Texas, Wende Burton. “We know that these gift cards have gone a long way to help families with additional expenses, especially during the holiday season.”

Crossroads Community Services has been operating a drive-thru food pantry since March 2020. The nonprofit organization collaborated with the ELRF nonprofit network to identify and refer recipients for the gift card initiative. Crossroads focused its efforts on households living within the organization’s service area which is 18 ZIP codes in southern Dallas County for the past two months.

“Crossroads Community Services is grateful for the opportunity to partner with the City of Dallas and its public and private partners to increase the impact of the Emma Lazarus Resilience Fund,” said Crossroads’ Client Services Manager Jesse Kramer.  “Together, we are bringing immediate economic relief, in the form of grocery gift cards, to households affected by COVID-19 but ineligible for federal COVID-19 relief programs.”

After completing the holiday gift card initiative, Crossroads will continue distributing nutritious food through its drive-thru pantry and 150 partners in the community. For those needing food, the Crossroads drive-thru pantry will serve any household, regardless of immigration status living in its service area that meets federal income guidelines. The pantry hours of operations, service area, and more can be found at

To learn more about the Emma Lazarus Resilience Fund visit:

The City offers a number of resources that are available to residents during their time of need as well. Visit the City’s Community Resources page at This online platform includes food, emergency shelter, legal, and education resources by ZIP code. Information is available in multiple languages.

The City has partnered with 16 non-profit organizations that provide essential services to immigrant and refugee households. Click here for more information.

Also, residents are encouraged to dial the City’s 311 resource line. There’s assistance for families looking for senior services and referrals to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.

For those living across Dallas County and its surrounding counties, allows anyone to search by city or ZIP code for nearby food pantries in the North Texas Food Bank feeding network.