Supporting Clients in a Pandemic
In the nonprofit industry, COVID-19 has changed the way we all serve our clients. At Santa Maria Community Services, we have had to postpone a major fundraiser, cancel all of our events, and most of our programs have changed at the very least. Our buildings are closed to the public; however, we are considered an essential business and will continue to operate, but will do so differently. Some of our in-person services will be run from our parking lot with clients remaining at least six feet apart. We are going to families’ homes to drop off activity packets for parents to use with their children, diapers, cleaning products, hygiene products and other important items. We are performing employment coaching on the phone, remotely running our High School Equivalency classes and offering utility and rent assistance for our families.
We are taking the threat of COVID-19 very seriously. No employees, volunteers or clients have tested positive for the virus (as of March 23, 2020), but we have taken these actions out of an abundance of caution to protect our employees, volunteers and our clients.
Santa Maria is taking the following steps to continue safely serving the community:
· All group gatherings, tutoring, classes and events have been canceled or postponed including our annual fundraiser, The Sharing Table, which will be rescheduled late summer or fall – more to come. The Sharing Table was expected to raise over $60,000.
· All of our employees will be teleworking during the next two weeks and possibly beyond.
· Access to our sites is restricted solely to staff and deliveries.
· We have suspended home visits through the Every Child Succeeds and Promoting our Preschoolers programs but can connect with and support these families by phone, text, video calls, and drop-offs at their homes.
We are continuing to work closely with our federal, state, and local authorities to ensure we meet guidelines to safely deliver services to our community. We are hopeful that we will be able to resume normal services in the coming months. Likewise, we are confident that our events, including The Sharing Table, will be able to be rescheduled later this summer or in the fall. Most importantly, we will continue to support our families in any way we can during this pandemic.