Today I’m home with my two children. Earlier this week I picked up their Distance Learning Packets from their school and set up what I’m affectionately calling, The War Room.
So far in this room we are battling multiplication, learning our home address, answering emails, and creating social media posts to share with the public. We watched a famous author Doodle, and doodled with him. My daughter complained she didn’t know what to doodle, my son wanted to watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates (again. I can’t stand that show I might add), but with encouragement to just let the pencil go– we doodled:
During this time I received messages from clients, via our new text messaging system: Can you help with food? and My power is about to be disconnected. I also am confident that our amazing receptionists and ministry staff received and assisted countless calls today from families struggling.
But we are supposed to be practicing Social Disconnection! Right? We can’t or shouldn’t be in direct contact with others. So HOW can we assist? We can’t sit aside and doodle all day! So, like many of our nonprofit friends, we are working with clients over the phone. Over the phone we can still gather pertinent information and decipher needs. We are bringing food to client’s vehicles, as we can not allow the general public in our building.
We’ve gone to a day to day process. We have no idea if we will need to stop this food distribution practice as well. With grocery stores struggling to keep products on the shelves, more families are seeking food from food pantries. We plan to continue to assist families as long as we can- whether our stock runs out or we are forced to close.
We don’t have a playbook for this sort of event– I would say that no non-profit nor for-profit business has one. A pandemic was not even in our wheel-house. Now, we are trying to strategize ways to fund the Center as we aren’t sure our planned fundraising events will even be able to happen. Come April, will this have passed? Would an event be successful or fall flat as the public wouldn’t want to participate? Some non-profits across the country have already had to cancel important fundraising events–much to the detriment of their bottom line.
So while we have to have faith that this pandemic will pass, what will be the economic and social impact? Will small businesses survive? Will more families be thrust into crisis mode as their hourly pay is slashed? Will non-profit agencies be forced to shutter their doors as much needed financial donations stop coming? Will the Center?
At the time of this writing, the Washington Post reads that there could be a major influx of families from the food-preparation and travel and tourism sectors that traditionally live paycheck to paycheck and will need assistance from agencies like the Center. While we are not located in Washington DC, we are in an area with countless restaurants, retail stores and companies that hire temporary/hourly paid employees. Closing these businesses will hugely impact the burden on these families and they will need a place to get them through the bumps (or craters as the case may be). One of those places is the Upstate Family Resource Center.
Please don’t assume we will always be able to assist, please consider a small (or substantial) donation to our Resource Center. The Center is not just me, or our staff or a place for those in need–it is a place for everyone. Because none of us planned to struggle, no one had a plan to home school and work, and no one planned on having to socially distance themselves from our normal day to day lives. We hope you will help us continue to be there for families.