Father Kristopher Cowles, the pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Sioux Falls, helped develop an approach to distributing funds. Parish priests are the first step to connecting families to grants. Pastors talk with families impacted by the virus - whether they face unemployment, the loss of childcare, or the virus itself - and then they try to help.
"We haven't been able to really have Masses and have a lot of connection with people. I think it gives [priests] that connection … to feel like they're serving their purpose and just providing relationships for people and being the hands and feet of Jesus. I mean that's what we're here for," Bartmann said.
Bartmann said the money has contributed to basic necessities, like rent, bills, medications, and food.
Families in Sioux Falls were hit hard when a Smithfield pork plant shut down on April 19. The plant is the ninth-largest pork producer in the United States, with around 3,700 employees; it faced a spike of coronavirus infections, involving at least 640 cases of COVID-19 and 1 related death.
The Tapia family was among those impacted by the shutdown.
A parishioner of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church alerted Fr. Cowles to the family's needs. Brianda said the money they received was a huge relief while the family waited for work to resume.
Her husband began to work again on May 12.
Tapia expressed gratitude for the foundation and its contribution to her family but also the family's Catholic faith, which has brought them closer to God.
"The money was a God-send, it was a surprise and a blessing, because we were running out of food for us and for our two boys (9 and 8)," she said.
"Our Catholic faith has been crucial for us. Faith is always important, but especially in these trial times, in which we feel closer and united to the Lord."