110 undocumented Racine families nearly became homeless during pandemic. Here’s how a local nonprofit helped them | Local News

But then she got help. She and about 110 other undocumented households in and around Racine did, thanks to $39,000 in donations collected in just a few months by a local organization not used for fundraising.

That much money was raised, and that many families were helped, without a massive press campaign or news coverage. The campaign spread through word of mouth almost entirely, according to Jessica Diaz, who is co-heading the Racine Immigrant Support Initiative — the name given to the program helping local immigrant households, which is run through the Racine Interfaith Coalition, of which Diaz is a member.

On Sunday, Diaz recounted this woman’s story and others’ who have been helped in recent months by the RIC during the nonprofit’s annual fundraiser banquet.

Finding people, helping them

Diaz is an immigrant herself. She came to the U.S. from Mexico at age 6, grew up in Kenosha and has lived in Racine for 13 years. She works at a law firm and is pondering pursuing a law degree of her own. “The world needs more lawyers, good lawyers,” she laughed during a Sunday interview with The Journal Times.

With her innate connections to the local immigrant community, people started knocking on Diaz’s door, asking for help. They were desperate. The same thing was happening with Maria Morales, who co-leads the Racine Immigrant Support Initiative along with Diaz. The women joked about setting up queue lines at their homes for all the people stopping by, asking for help or requesting aid on behalf of someone else they know.