Nonprofits muster additional resources to meet new needs in crisis
Salvation Army of Spokane's response effort includes continuing the Family Resource Center—food bank—continues to help people in need, as there has been a 30 percent increase in services because of COVID-19.
"We ask people to donate extra toilet paper, hand sanitizer, tissue, cleaning wipes and surgical masks for people who come to the food bank," said Major Ken Perine, corps officer of the Spokane Salvation Army Citadel Corps.
In practicing safe distance, the Spokane Salvation Army is handling food box requests in front of the Family Resource Center. Individuals sign up for food boxes and volunteers bring the boxes to them, instead of people "self-shopping" for food.
Some people needing food are driving up, getting out of their cars to sign up for the food and then waiting in their cars for a volunteer to bring them a box of food.
"We want folks who are not eligible for unemployment to spend their money on rent, not food," he said.
The Emergency Safe Shelter, where people can stay up to 90 days, and Stepping Stones for families staying up to a year, are operating. Staff are checking guests' health every day. Families and guests practice social distancing.
The Youth Center is closed.
Church services are online.
The Salvation Army seeks donations to purchase items. Information on donating is at https:/salarmy.us/coronavirusresponse.
Volunteers, age 55 and younger, are needed for four-hour shifts. To practice social distancing, volunteers have limited contact with people coming for food. Sign up is at makingspokanebetter.org.
Second Harvest is assessing needs of partner agencies and mobilizing resources to help ensure an uninterrupted supply of food for children, families and seniors who need it. Although daily operations continue, Second Harvest's food supply chain is being strained and volunteering has been disrupted as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold.
The COVID-19 crisis will lead more people to turn to food banks for help. Second Harvest seeks donations to keep its food supply stable and respond to unprecedented need. See 2-harvest.org.
Serve Spokane will refuse service to anyone showing symptoms. Those needing food and clothing can call for home delivery. See servespokane.org.
Spark Central closed its after-school program and in-person programs, but staff raised $5,000 to provide kits with Legos, playdough, crayons and snacks for kids to have during this time they are out of school. See spark-central.org.
SPEAR Ministries after school program in East Central north of I-90 needs non-perishable food for their food bank for low-income children and families. People wanting to help may take donations to St. Mark's Lutheran, 316 E. 24th Ave. Call 747-6677 for hours.
The Spokane Alliance is working with its member congregations and unions to build teams to reach out in their organizations to see what needs there are and to connect them with resources.
The Alliance is also partnering with the Spokane Regional Health District to train volunteers to check on people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and do not need to be hospitalized.
Non-members may contact lead organizer Katie Zinler to participate by calling 389-1750 or emailing email@example.com.
Spokane Riverkeeper is committed to maintaining the health and safety of our Spokane Riverkeeper community members, volunteers, staff and partners. They are closely monitoring the development of COVID-19 precautions for Eastern Washington. In the hopes of continuing to flatten the curve, they are taking cues from Spokane Regional Health District and continuing to wash hands, work remotely and stay home when sick. See spokaneriverkeeper.org.
Spokane Valley Partners is monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and taking proactive measures to protect the health and well-being of its partners, volunteers, staff and the vulnerable children, families and seniors it serves. It asks those coming to follow best practices.
SVP's food bank, diaper bank and emergency assistance are operating as usual, with increased sanitation and social distancing. Its clothing bank is closed until further notice due to the virus's lifespan on soft goods. It is not accepting donations of clothing or household goods until further notice.
The need for help with utilities is increasing. The disaster is affecting those who need SVP services most: families with children and the elderly. In addition, they have a new clientele of low-wage, hourly workers hit with layoffs and job losses. SVP is concerned about the stability of some of its revenue support partners, churches and businesses, whose incomes are affected through shutdowns.
It has an emergency appeal. See svpart.org.
Tenants Union of Washington continues its advocacy. Terri Anderson, director in Spokane, reports that the city of Spokane expanded its emergency order to include a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures. The Spokane moratorium halts all notices to terminate and all evictions and foreclosures and stops late fees for April rent. It applies to both commercial and residential evictions. It also provides an exception for notices to terminate for the safety of residents in the building. This order fills the gaps left in the statewide moratorium on evictions. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tum Tum Pantry personnel and volunteers wear protective gear, gloves and masks. Local Rosauer's are receiving donations. See newhungercoalition.org.
Union Gospel Mission's response is evolving daily. People experiencing homelessness are among the most vulnerable and many shelter guests have health conditions that put them at high risk. It prepares food onsite in commercial kitchens, has a free medical clinic at each shelter, has sufficient space for social distancing and isolation. Cleanliness and sanitation are always priorities. The capacity at the men's shelter is 120.
With the city's request that shelters operate 24/7, men will no longer leave the building during the day. Bagged meals-to-go are served to the public at noon and 6 p.m. at the east door of the shelter on Denver Ave. See uniongospelmission.org/covid-19.
Spokane County United Way has set up a COVID-19 Community Forum to connect agencies with specific needs for people and supplies with individuals who are looking for ways to help. There are instructions for listing volunteer opportunities or in-kind items in the COVID-19 Community Forum section of the VolunteerSpokane.org website, said Drew Curry, community outreach and development manager.
It has streamlined the process to match community volunteers with community needs. It is working with school districts, government, businesses and nonprofits to coordinate community efforts. It has partnered with Innovia Foundation, Empire Health Foundation and other funding partners to set up a community fund for financial assistance at innovia.org/give-now. Call 324-5041 or see unitedwayspokane.org/COVID18Resources.
Vanessa Behan, concerned about the potential increase in child abuse and neglect during the COVID-19 crisis with schools closed six weeks, is offering support to children and families on its website and social media. Parents with limited support face difficult decisions about child care. Vanessa Behan is considering how to increase services for parents needing child care.
Parents need to carefully scrutinize anyone they leave their children with in the coming days, considering how well they know the person, their experience with children, age appropriate expectations, number of children, safety of the location, CPR certification and how they handle stress. Call 535-3255 or see vanessabehan.org.
Veradale United Church of Christ and Bethany Presbyterian offer Hoarders' Forgiveness Banks for those who bought excess TP, sanitizer and hygiene items. They can drop off items by calling Veradale UCC at 926-7173, or Bethany at 534-0600. The churches will arrange to share the items with shelters.
Women's and Children's Free Restaurant is monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and taking protective measures. It is distributing food to other nonprofits, like Transitions, Catholic Charities and Vanessa Behan from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Take-out meals are offered until all 3,000 meals per week are served on a first-come-first-served basis. See wcfrspokane.org/about-us-2/.
World Relief: While the World Relief office in Spokane is closed and volunteer activities are postponed, staff is working remotely. Its mission remains to empower the community to serve the most vulnerable, but it recognizes crises bring disproportionate impact.
It is working to disseminate public information in immigrants' and refugees' languages. A task force will assess financial, housing and food needs for clients, and will help meed some of those needs. It is alsos developing new technologies to share information. See worldrelief.org/covid-19.
The YWCA is closed but its services to women, children and families remain available, especially given the needs with the stress. It continues to serve through its domestic violence safe shelter and other services by phone, email and video—legal advocacy, mental health, counseling, job readiness and family support services. Its 24-Hour Helpline is at 326-2255, text 220-3725 or email email@example.com.
For updates on food banks, school food handouts and more, visit thefigtree.org, where updates on services during the COVID-19 crisis are continually reported.
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, April, 2020