COVID-19 Update

Preparing for Uncertainty

Our Odyssey families live near the poverty level and will be hard hit from loss of wages and hungry children home for school. We are worried for their health and safety – not only will it be more challenging to access medical and mental health services, but isolation and crowded homes may increase domestic abuse. We are working to share community resources (below) and to tap into our own “family fund” for emergency help to keep our families fed, housed, and medically safe. Thank you SO much to those of you who have contributed over the years (or more recently through our gala or my dad’s 90th birthday benefit) to increase this fund. To help support Odyssey families during this challenging time, please donate to our Friends of Odyssey Family.

Contact Information

If you are a student or alumni and have any questions or need support, please contact Emily Auerbach at or 608-712-6321 or Brian Benford at or 608-807-7224. If you are an Odyssey supporter and would like to know how you can help with immediate needs or have any other questions, please contact Jenny Pressman at or 608-287-8216. If you have additional resources that you believe could be helpful for our students and their families, please email these ideas to Emily Azad at


Emily Auerbach

Position title: Odyssey Project Co-Director / Founder


Phone: 608-262-3733

Brian Benford

Position title: Odyssey Success Coach


Phone: 608-807-7224

Jenny Pressman

Position title: Director of Development and Community Partnerships


Phone: 608-287-8216

Emily (Em) Azad

Position title: Program Manager


Phone: 608-590-5862 (or leave a voicemail at 608-262-0763)

COVID-19 Resources

  • United Way: United Way has a COVID-19 Community Economy Relief Fund that will be used to help with bills, rent, and food. You can also call 1-866-211-9966 and provide your zip code to be given a list of local agencies that are providing assistance.
  • NAMI: If you are feeling anxious, angry, sad, or scared and need someone to talk to, please text NAMI to 741741 or call the NAMI helpline at 1-800-950-6264.
  • Second Harvest: Please click here to view a list of all the local pantries and any adjustments they’ve made due to the current COVID-19 situation.
  • MMSD: Schools are closed but MMSD will be providing free, nutritious meals for kids daily at sites around Madison. A take-home breakfast and lunch will be provided in pre-packaged paper bags at each drop-off site, once per day. Click here to view sites and times for pick-up.
  • Charter Spectrum is offering 60 days of free internet access for college and K-12 students who do not have internet access during face-to-face class suspension. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395.
  • Madison Resources for Impacts of COVID-19: Check out this Google doc to see a long list of resources available in the Madison area. Included in this list are places to make requests within the community, financial and rent resources, utility resources, food and home care resources, and much more.
  • Wisconsin Public Radio: For updated information regarding the current COVID-19 situation, please click here.
  • Public Health Madison and Dane County: For updated information pertaining to the COVID-19 situation in Dane County, please click here.