Helpers are evident in responding to needs arising around COVID-19 - #1 A -H
One TV station news program has started a "Look for the Helpers" feature, citing Mr. Rogers' suggestion that in times of stress and struggle, children and adults should "look for the helpers."
That's what The Fig Tree's mission is to do in all times.
"It's overwhelming all the helpers who are helping in these times—as always," said Mary Stamp, The Fig Tree editor. "Instead of our usual approach of feature articles, we are sharing hope with you by sharing a sampling of what some of the ministries, government agencies, nonprofits, businesses and faith communities are doing.
"For those feeling hopeless during these times, we invite them to be aware of all the neighbors helping neighbors, using their ingenuity to adjust services around social (physical) distancing and hygiene protocols to bring their love, care and resources to people in need," she said.
The following are just a sampling of how agencies are changing their approaches to provide services in the midst of the pandemic and in response to the "novel coronavirus disease that started in 2019" (COVID-19).
More updates are being compiled every day by Malcolm Haworth, directory editor. They are posted at thefigtree.org.
Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington (ALTCEW) is posting updates in a pdf file, "Service Impact Due to COVID-19," at altcew.org in the bottom under "What's New?"
They invite anyone with questions on obtaining food, transportation or supplies during the COVID-19 crisis to call their helpline at 509-960-7281. While ALTCEW has made changes, they don't impact its ability to serve clients. Call 458-2509 or visit altcew.org.
American Red Cross of the Greater Inland Northwest reported a severe shortage of blood collection nationally because of coronavirus with more than 2,700 drives canceled across the U.S. in two weeks resulting in a loss of more than 86,000 units. There is no evidence COVID-19 can be transferred by blood.
Locally, it is halting its in-home smoke alarm installation and house fire safety education for the time being. Call 590-7691 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Americans & the Holocaust Exhibit and related events at Gonzaga University during March and April have been cancelled. Gonzaga classes will be online.
The American Library Association is developing a new schedule that extends the Americans and the Holocaust exhibit tour dates by one year. Tentative plans are to bring the exhibit to Spokane in the spring of 2022.
Arc of Spokane is temporarily suspending activity in the community center and community inclusion programs. Staff who are impacted by layoffs from programs dependent on clients are being offered other opportunities to assist in supported living. Call 328-6326 or see arc-spokane.org.
Audubon Park United Methodist Church's Food Bank will be open from 8:30 a.m. to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays, but the Tuesday Breakfast has been cancelled through April. They need more volunteers because many regular volunteers are in the vulnerable population. Contact email@example.com.
Caritas is open regular hours. It will keep its facility clean practice social distancing with clients, asking them to stay outdoors and receive a food package outside. See caritasoutreachministries.org.
Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington (CCEW) has stood side by side with people in the region for more than 100 years through times of change and hardship. Today is no different.
"During this COVID-19 crisis, sitting on the sidelines is not an option for us," said Rob McCann, executive director. "We have a sacred obligation and duty to continue the work you have entrusted to us, as best we can, even in this current Coronavirus world. Social distancing does not mean that we forget about our clients. We are putting forth every effort to ensure our clients know we are here for them. We will always answer the call to serve."
He said that the poor and vulnerable are being hit hardest by this global pandemic, and Catholic Charities intends to remain here for them.
"We will not shy away from this fight. We are safely equipping our staff and building our organization to stand with the poor and vulnerable in this time of great need for them and for us all," Rob said.
CCEW is looking for Shopping Angels who will fill a bag of non-perishable food items while they shop for themselves and drop it off at the drive-in at its headquarters, 12 E. 5th Ave.
Staff will deliver "the miracle food bags" to seniors who are unable to leave their homes. CCEW also seeks donations of non-perishable food items.
Communities in Schools is working with partners to distribute food to students to assure their needs are meet. It seeks donations of food and funds. It is doing remote coaching and staff are doing remote communication. See communitiesinschools.org.
Community-Minded Enterprises has cancelled all trainings and events have been postponed. Recovery Café is closed to the public. CMTV14 studio is closed to the public. See updates at community-minded.org/2020/03/13/community-minded-enterprises-covid-19-updates/.
Crosswalk is cancelling all events, group meetings, shelter tours and in-person fundraisers to help "flatten the curve in Spokane," said Jon Carollo. He is grateful for meal providers bringing meals to the shelter door. It continues, as a shelter provider, to serve those who need help, aware of the impact of cancelling fundraisers. Jon requested people bring extra toilet paper, latex gloves, masks and other supplies to its shelters. See https://www.voaspokane.org/covid19.
Family Promise of North Idaho, which continues to serve homeless families, suggests calling before coming in, to be sure that someone is in the office. They do not have regular office hours. Currently, two families are in the program, and a third is expected.
With restrictions on gathering, places that hosted families overnight have shut down, but they found a shelter they can use. Churches have acted as hosts and fed their guests. They welcome donations of food and cleaning supplies. Call 208-777-4190.
Family Promise of Spokane strives to preserve the safety and health of guests, volunteers, staff, and Spokane community. As of March 25, they had no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 among anyone connected to the organization, but are monitoring developments of the virus closely, implementing a social distancing plan to help slow the spread of this virus in our community.
To protect homeless families at high risk of complications if they are infected—expectant mothers and children with disabilities or compromised immune systems—Family Promise opened a second 24/7 shelter location housing 18 people. It is full.
In total, they are sheltering 60 people, 31 children and 29 adults in the two locations. Unable to use volunteers and interns, they need financial and prayer support, as staff is stretched thin.
Those staying home can help by donating financially, buying groceries, offering an RV or trailer, and advocating for homeless children and families. See familypromiseofspokane.org/covid19.
Food Fighters offers a website as a clearinghouse where people can request meals and others respond, partnering with restaurants to deliver 25 meals a day. See spokanefoodfighters.org.
Giving Back Packs, which gives out backpacks with necessities to homeless people, is collecting toilet paper from business and individual donations to give to homeless shelters. It is working with restaurants to offer about 100 meals a day. See gbpacks.org.
Greenhouse Community Center at 211 N. Fir St. in Deer Park is open, continuing its drive-through food bank from 1 to 4 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, keeping everything sanitized. For people in the 99006 zip code who sign up, it provides monthly boxes. The Weekly Porch is for anyone who signs up. It provides produce, bread, milk and eggs. The Greenhouse also is offering help with utility bills. Those who are sick or have symptoms should stay home, and request home delivery, provided based on volunteer availability.
Call 276-6897 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Habitat for Humanity-Spokane has suspended its operations at work sites, its store and office. With the "shelter in place" order, Michelle Girardot, executive director, said it's the right thing to do, but for 40 families they serve, it "exacerbates conditions in which they have struggled" in unhealthy houses with leaks, mold and poor insulation, and living overcrowded with extended family.
She said families Habitat partners with will be hardest hit by economic shocks from the crisis as they lose jobs. To bring back these families, she calls for people to send support to Habitat at habitat-spokane.org.
Heart of the City Church in Coeur d'Alene is experiencing ongoing changes. The food bank is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Thursday, but drive-up only for a prepared food box. Staff is working from home to help people with rent and utilities via emails. Call 208-665-7808 and see theheartcda.com.
Hope House is addressing overcrowding. The emergency shelter is moving to 24-hour shelter service, but not accepting new women. Women are offered breakfast, lunch and dinner. They move to the patio from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2 to 3 p.m. to allow for sanitization. Participants are to avoid other drop-in centers.
House of Charity, along with 24/7 shelter access, is providing regular daily services from 7:30 a.m. to noon, as well as sleeping programs. From noon to 7 p.m., when closed, it is offering Porta-Potties in its courtyard with two staff to monitor and sanitize between each use.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, April, 2020