It is hard to believe how quickly COVID-19 has taken over our lives. It is a challenging new reality, and we are all feeling it. Not so long ago, I was visiting our programs in India and attending meetings in the US. Now, we can still communicate in alternate ways, but I miss the personal contact with our staff, supporters, and patients.
In these difficult times, we are even more grateful than ever for people like you, whose generosity and support constantly inspire us. It is now our turn to share inspiration with you from our Board Chair, Harriette Cole, and via the work we are still able to do despite imposed limitations.
PRASAD COVID-19 Updates
At PRASAD Children’s Dental Health Program, though we have had to close our Mobile Dental Clinic, we have established a 24/7 advice hotline for calls from concerned parents. Recently, a distressed grandmother needed urgent care for her two grandchildren and could not find a dental office that was open and would accept her insurance. Our hotline staff advised her on how to get help from the insurance company to get the dental care needed. The Sullivan County Public Health Advisory Board is supporting relief efforts in the community; I am an active member.
At PRASAD de Mexico, in an abundance of caution and in coordination with the local government, because patients would have to travel and eye camps mean a gathering of 200+ people in close quarters, all eye camps have been canceled until further notice.
At PRASAD Chikitsa, in an effort to control social distancing, activities have been severely limited by the Indian government. Currently, the Anukampa Health Center general care out-patient department is only open for six half-days a week. Our frontline physicians and staff living close to the Center are able to leave their homes to administer the out-patient services. We continue to provide essential medical services to approximately 45 patients a day.
A patient is processed for examination
Patients are safely distanced in the waiting area
PRASAD Chikitsa, realizing face masks were not available in the area, recruited Women’s Self-Help Group members to help. PRASAD is supplying the materials for women to make masks in their homes; each mask is then sterilized before use. The women are making approximately 80 masks a day, and last week 100 masks were distributed to homeless people in Ganeshpuri. The women are grateful to have the opportunity to help their community and plan to continue as long as is necessary.
A Self-Help Group member making masks. A homeless man receives a protective mask
PRASAD Chikitsa, in collaboration with local organizations, is also in the process of organizing a feeding program that would provide 1,000 meals a day. But, because of current COVID-19 restrictions, the program needs to go through multiple levels of government approval. We hope to have a positive update on this for you shortly…stay tuned.
In the coming weeks, we will launch a special COVID-19 response campaign. We are finalizing the details with our partners now. We hope you will support our efforts. In the meantime, we will also keep you updated on our programs across the globe and ask that you keep practicing social distancing, take good care of yourselves and your loved ones. Being safe and well is one of the most generous things you can do for yourself and others.
Dr. M. Cecilia Escarra
The PRASAD Project
PRASAD Children’s Dental Health Program, Inc.
P.S. Special New Tax Guidelines for Charitable Donations: For the 2020 tax year, taxpayers can take an above-the-line charitable deduction of up to $300 for certain charitable contributions. In addition, for 2020, the deduction available on cash contributions to charitable organizations has been increased from 60 percent of a taxpayer’s AGI to 100 percent. (Contributions to donor-advised funds are not eligible.) For corporations, the deductibility of cash contributions has been increased temporarily from 10 percent to 25 percent of taxable income.