SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Census field operations which were delayed because of the coronavirus are back up and running.
Meanwhile, a local community organization in Springdale is reaching out to members of the community to spread awareness about completing the Census.
“We are delivering these census fliers to remind people to respond to the census at all of the schools in Springdale that are delivering lunches to the students while school is out,” said Springdale Complete Count Committee Chair, Kathryn Birkhead.
The coronavirus crisis has pushed back many of its census outreach efforts.
“There was going to be a census talent rally at the Jones Center on April 4, there was just one thing after another that we had planned to do that got canceled or delayed.”
The census is taken every ten years and counts every resident in the United States. It’s important because it’s used to figure out the distribution of federal funds.
“A lot of the funding goes to programs people in Springdale need most, free and reduced lunches are impacted by census data, community clinic is impacted by census data, snap benefits are all influenced by it.”
Birkhead worries the coronavirus will cause people to miss out on being counted.
“When people are concerned about their health, their jobs, they’re concerned about so many things that this just goes on the back burner.”
Every family will be getting a flier just like this. It’s in English, Spanish and Marshallese to let them know what the census is all about, how it will affect them and how to take it.
“We’re a Hispanic family and wanted to be represented in the community,” said Alvaro Cortes who filled out the census form for his family but admits it took some convincing.
“It’s something I had to push them to do because they were nervous about it and how were we going to do it with everything going on,” said Cortes.
“There’re people who don’t trust the government and are hesitant to respond for that reason. There are language barriers and a lot of it also goes along with just socio-economic statuses,” said Birkhead.
The census bureau has restarted its operations as well. a spokesperson says census packets are being delivered to p.o. boxes and people who live in rural areas. and it all being done with no personal contact.