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San Diego: COVID-19 Updates

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Please visit this page for regular updates on the IRC in San Diego's response to COVID-19.

The IRC in San Diego continues to operate remotely, serving clients virtually while the physical office is closed.

Jump to:

  1. How to purchase face masks from IRC client businesses
  2. How to support IRC client restaurants & food businesses
  3. Latest Program Updates


 June 2020 Update:

Amid historic unemployment rates, an unprecedented landscape for small businesses and a widespread health pandemic, the IRC in San Diego has supported 423 individuals access unemployment and other financial applications, secured 21 job placements for new Americans as the economy re-opens and distributed over $32,000 in emergency cash assistance for families in need. Thank you to our supporters who make our work possible and to our incredible, resilient staff who go above and beyond to ensure our services reach some of San Diego's most vulnerable and at-risk communities. See how our impact in numbers over the past four months: 

Photo: Photo by Carlos Solorio

Safety in Style: Keeping City Heights Safe 

In partnership with our friends at Fair at 44, The El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association, The City Heights Business Association and Artform Swapmeet, this June we held a free mask distribution event for low-income communities in City Heights. In doing so, we were able to provide 150 face masks for City Height residents while also supporting local refugee and immigrant designers: Humura Style, Lily Kouture, Snips & Seams Alterations, Ali Awow and Lamia Nabki. 

Designers are still accepting orders and are ready to keep you safe! To order your mask made by a local business, click here.

  • Read & Listen to KPBS’s story on our Safety in Style event here.

May 15 Update:

May spotlight: The IRC in San Diego's In-Home Childcare Business Team help essential childcare providers stay safe (and at home), as they re-open their in-home businesses, giving them access to free cleaning supplies and other essentials through our first-ever socially distant donation drive-thru and walk-up line.


Since going remote in March, we have been able to continue providing life-changing services as well as provide emergency COVID-19 resources and support. Our impact in numbers:

  • 342 Unemployment Insurance & financial relief applications 
  • 213 Small businesses received application support and/or business counseling services 
  • 186 Remote immigration legal service appointments 
  • $17, 345 Emergency cash assistance distributed to families 
  • $391, 798 in Grant loans secured for 27 small businesses 
  • 72 Youth supported through virtual tutoring or mentorships 


April 25 Update: 

Here are some great ways to support the IRC and the families we serve: 

Purchase face masks from one of these client-owned tailoring businesses: 

Ali Awow

$5 Standard | 619-629-1835 | Pick Up (City Heights), shipping available.


Amera Tooma

$4 Standard (w/wire), $7 w/filter pocket

619-888-8387 | Pick up (El Cajon), shipping available, delivery to some areas in San Diego


Huruma Clothing Co. 

Owner: Prince Shamamba

619-581-3004 | princeshamss [at] yahoo.com


Lamiaa Nabki

$10 Standard (fabric straps), $7 Standard (elastic straps)

619-431-6308 | Pick up (San Diego), Shipping available.


Rands Fashions

Owner: Nagiba Gago

$5 Standard, $10 w/filter pocket

619-536-6362 | Facebook: Rands Fashions


Samahir Shoka

$5 Standard

619-938-5947 | Pick up only (El Cajon)


The Stars Fashion

Owner: Jawan Habib

$4 Standard (w/wire), $6 w/wire & filter pocket

619-715-2614 | Facebook: The Stars Fashion | Pick up (El Cajon), Shipping available


Order take-out or delivery from a client-owned restaurant or catering business: 


African Spice Sambusa 619-304-8970  |  Available on Grubhub & Doordash

Alfa Alfajores Bakery  760-822-2949  |  Available for home delivery or pick up by appointment.

Choice Confection  619-752-4864  |  Delivery or pick up by appointment

Farida's Somalian Cuisine  619-264-2995  |  Available on Postmates and Doordash

Local Kebab 619-214-8514  |  Home Delivery Available + Donate delivery to healthcare workers option

Mal-Al-Sham: Taste of Damascus 619-401-1005  |   Available on DoorDash

Red Sambusas & Catering 619-245-7946  |  Home delivery available

Sugar Mamma Caramels 619-301-9956   |  Home delivery available

Taste of Africa Cuisine 619-583-5788  |  Available on Grubhub & Doordash 

Too Sabrozo Deli 619-909-2134  |  Home delivery available

Vietnamese & Chinese Noodle House 619-477-5643  |  Available on Doordash

Villas Mexican Food 619-337-3990  |  Available on Grubhub


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April 24 Update:

In addition to the services listed below, our office has also provided significant financial support and relief as of April 24:


March 17 Update:

While our office has suspended in-person programming, we have been able to adapt service delivery to ensure the health and safety of our clients. IRC staff are:

  • Calling each and every client to ensure that families have accurate, in-language health and safety information and are able to meet their basic needs
  • Connecting families with resources such as public benefits, food banks, diaper banks, free internet options, and other resources 
  • We have established an internal employment task force to support clients across all programs who have been laid off, had hours reduced, or are at risk of losing their jobs  
  • Offering support loans with zero interest and zero payments for the first six months to current lending clients 
  • Supporting small businesses through our Small Business Development Center and helping microenterprise clients apply for Small Business Administration disaster loans 
  • Continuing to support current immigration clients on their applications and filings, and looking for ways to take on new clients remotely 
  • Supporting youth whose classes have been moved online to access their courses and connect with virtual tutoring 
  • Working to ensure asylum seekers have housing either in shelters, transitional housing, or short-term emergency stays 

When the novel coronavirus reached California, IRC acted quickly to develop a mitigation and response plan which is now well under way. We continue to actively monitor updates from public health officials and are circulating CDC guidance with our staff, community partners, and clientsincluding resettled refugees, asylum-seekers, and vulnerable immigrant populations. This includes sharing best practices in social distancing, personal hygiene, and health with our staff and clients, including making this information accessible in multiple languages. We are committed to protecting the physical health and safety of our clients, volunteers and staff and are grateful for our local community that continues to stand by us in support of refugee and immigrant communities during these uncertain times.   

Want to help? You can support our work here. For more information, email our Development Coordinator, Lida Dianti, at Lida.Dianti [at] Rescue.org.