With the weather becoming warmer we have moved our operations into the sunshine and fresh air—placing a table across the doors at the back entrance and serving sandwiches and handing out bags of groceries from the vestibule between the doors. This now only requires two volunteers—one to handle sandwiches and another to hand out groceries. (And on Thursdays the grocery volunteer is able to make up the bags for distribution the following Tuesday.)
As we have increased the amount of food we are handing out (providing about 10 non-perishable items in each bag plus toilet paper and other “extras” such as fresh vegetables, bread, or eggs when these have been donated) we are exceeding our monthly budget for purchasing groceries. We have diverted the funds we would normally use to buy grocery gift cards to the purchase of groceries and we have also had many extra donations through Tithely and offering earmarked for outreach/Food Shelf.
One of the toughest challenges of the new way we provide our outreach is that physical distancing forces us to help people without the ability to be close to them. We are used to giving hugs when needed and asking them how their day is going and having a chat with them when they need it.
Yet we recognize that those we serve are very difficult to engage in health care and because of this are the most vulnerable. Many don’t have a regular doctor and many have underlying mental and physical health conditions that make them more vulnerable. The virus has forced us to consider other cautions in our approach to distance our volunteers from the recipients, and each other.
Because we know physical distancing can be difficult and boring, we have been putting out a table of items to help through this time of social isolation. Items include books, jigsaw puzzles, yarn, Sudoku/crossword/word find puzzle books, board games, and books. This is another way you can help—if you have items such as puzzles, decks of cards, or yarn to donate you can drop these off at the church or phone me to arrange a pick up (250-575-1780).
They say that this virus doesn’t discriminate, but it is also true that it doesn’t affect people equally. It affects people who don’t have the resources to not work, or who can’t afford to buy gloves, to order groceries online for pick up, or to take care of themselves in other ways.
I am really aware of this, whenever I come in to the church and use the supplies to sanitize my hands or wipe things down, or when I don my gloves before helping people. It makes me grateful each day for the work I have, for the country I live in, and for the ways that we are able to continue to help those we share our community with.
Thank you all for your continued support of our Outreach program—with your donations, your time, and most especially your prayers!