Recent donations from local philanthropists and police organizations have made the distribution possible.
Immediately after hundreds in the local LGBTQ community found themselves suddenly out of work due to COVID-19 shutdowns in March, the Imperial Court de San Diego (ICSD) was one of the first local groups to provide support, within days of the first shutdown. ICSD continues to distribute grocery store gift cards to community members in need thanks to recent contributions.
The initial distribution provided approximately $5,000 worth of gift cards - primarily to members of the bar and restaurant service industries whose employers were forced to shut down. Since March, ICSD has given out of over $30,000 worth of vouchers, according to Queen Mother Nicole Murray-Ramirez.
Recent contributions from philanthropists Bill Ash, Tom Hebrank, Chris Shaw, and Emperor Jerry of San Francisco, along with support from elected officials including State Senate President Pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, Assemblymember Todd Gloria, and City Councilmember Chris Ward have made the continued distribution of gift cards possible. The Imperial Court also received a $2,000 donation from the San Diego Police Officers Association, as well as an additional $2,000 from the Peace Officers Research Association of California.
A portion of the funds from recent donations were shared with Being Alive San Diego HIV/AIDS Services' food distribution program, and the Take What You Can Food Distribution Program created by ICSD Emperor Darnell Williams. Both programs work to ensure that local community members in need have access to food.
Those who wish to donate to the program, or who could benefit from receiving a gift card, should contact Big Mike at 619-807-7324.