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Julian non-profit helping rural residents during coronavirus pandemic

Julian Pathways provides food, services and more
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Posted at 10:41 AM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 16:52:54-04

JULIAN, Calif. (KGTV) - A non-profit in Julian is ensuring rural residents all around San Diego County get the help they need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Julian Pathways usually focuses on students in rural parts of the county. But as need has increased during the pandemic, they've expanded their services.

"We're bridging a gap for what we don't have up here," says Pathways CEO Hilary Ward.

The town of Julian has been hit especially hard by the pandemic, as tourists aren't coming for shopping or food. It's also difficult for many people who live in Julian and the surrounding area to go to places like supermarkets, pharmacies or social services offices.

"The closest supermarket is at least 22 miles away down a windy road," says Ward. "There's no pharmacy here. There are no hardware stores here. There's really none of those services that people down the hill can get to easily."

Since March, Pathways has started making those trips down the hill. They go to the San Diego Food Bank every two weeks and bring back truck loads of food to deliver to rural residents.

They also have a full time counselor who is offering virtual therapy sessions.

And for the students, they've created a YouTube page full of educational and fun videos.

"That's been one of our biggest outreaches," says Manja Rocco, Pathway's Director of Enrichment Programs. "It lets them know that we're still here. We're still thinking about them."

They're also helping people get connected to social services like CalFresh and Medicaid. Ward says they're trying to reach as many people as possible.

"We service 620 square miles," she says. "This has really helped broaden our scope of who we can help in the community."