Press Release: COVID-19’s Triple Threat


COVID-19’s Triple Threat to the Bay Area’s Asian and Pacific Islander Community

SAN FRANCISCO (April 2, 2020) — The COVID-19 pandemic is devastating the Bay Area’s most vulnerable Asians and Pacific Islanders (API) on three fronts besides the health threat of the virus itself. Members of the API community have come under attack and are being harassed due to the recent rise in xenophobia. Chinatowns and Asian restaurants are being shunned out of unwarranted fear that they are more of a public health threat than non-Asian restaurants and eateries. Lastly, nonprofits serving APIs are under immense pressure and strain to meet the surging needs of clients who are in jeopardy like never before.

The Asian Pacific Fund has been tracking the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the API community through its 80+ nonprofit affiliates that provide an array of services to those at risk. The community is particularly vulnerable during tough economic times as four of the five ethnic groups with the highest poverty rates in the Bay Area are Asian or Pacific Islander. Among our findings:

Food Insecurity: Low-income and newly isolated seniors are in acute need for food now that they have been forced to shelter-in-place and can no longer access meals through community kitchens. Self-Help for the Elderly San Francisco locations typically deliver 400 meals per day to seniors, but now have 1,700 requests with a waiting list of hundreds that grows by the day. J-Sei has closed down its community site in the East Bay and is now serving as the lifeline in daily nutrition for its seniors, 82% of whom are low-income and are medically frail. Family Bridges, which serves to empower low-income immigrants, is desperately trying to get daily meals to 450 of their confined chronically ill seniors living in the East Bay. Korean Community Center of the East Bay has pivoted from their core services to connect their 2,000 low-income, limited English proficient Korean seniors to food pantries and delivery services.

Domestic Violence: Victims of domestic violence are in greater danger than ever now that they are forced to shelter-in-place with their abusers. According to Narika, a support and advocacy group for Bay Area domestic violence survivors, reports of abuse are rising steeply and include a case of a woman who has attempted to commit suicide twice as well as instances of women being beaten for infecting their families because of their exposure as healthcare workers or grocery store employees.

Health Care: Community health clinics are struggling to serve clients without proper protective gear while operating short-staffed due to illness and childcare issues. At Asian Health Services in Alameda County, their healthcare professionals are courageously and tirelessly working on the front lines to provide health care and safety net services for 30,000 patients in 14 Asian languages.

To meet this unprecedented crisis in the community, the Asian Pacific Fund launched a COVID-19 Response Fund and is on track to raise $400,000 with every dollar going directly to API-serving nonprofits before the end of April. To contribute to the fund or explore other ways to support, please visit the Fund’s website at

About Asian Pacific Fund: The Asian Pacific Fund is a San Francisco-based community foundation dedicated to improving the lives of Asian and Pacific Islander communities in the Bay Area. The Fund mobilizes philanthropic giving from donors, supports organizations that serve the most vulnerable and raises awareness about pressing community needs. For more information about the Fund, please visit:


Audrey Yamamoto