COVID-19 Update – March 16, 2020
Dear Friends of Family Promise,
Thank you for your continued commitment to the families and individuals we serve, and to Family Promise during these challenging times as we deal with the uncertainties of COVID-19. As we closely follow guidance from national, state, and local officials, we want you to know the steps we are taking to ensure we can continue to provide services to families who are homeless and to people who are experiencing hunger. We appreciate your dedication and we are committed to keeping our volunteers and those in our programs safe.
What we are doing to help now
Unfortunately, homelessness and hunger are not suspended during this crisis; our services are still critically needed, possibly more than ever. The following are steps we are taking to ensure the people we serve are safe and their basic needs are met:
- As our shelter model, the Family Promise Network, engages volunteers and families in shared spaces, we are following the lead of our local officials to minimize risk. For families currently in our program, we are stringently following best practices for the prevention of COVID-19. We are adjusting our sheltering model to limit the number of volunteers and family members who have direct interaction. Families in our New Leaf Apartment Program are being encouraged to follow local public health guidelines, including “social distancing.”
- We are encouraging new families who reach out to us for shelter to attempt to “shelter in place” to limit exposure. If this is not possible, we will assess each family separately to determine how we can best assist them.
- Low-income families can potentially be very hard-hit by the health crisis through the loss of wages, jobs, transportation, childcare, and more. They will need our support now and into the future. Families in the Network, families that are currently in our New Leaf Apartments, and families who are in our Post-Shelter Program, are all receiving personalized support via phone and video conferencing from our dedicated case managers. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we will also provide the families with gift cards, household cleaning items, baby and personal care products, etc., as needed.
- Our Walk-in Dinner continues to address hunger in our community during these trying times. Our volunteer groups are still preparing dinner for up to 130 people per night for those needing a free meal. We are closely monitoring that number and it will be adjusted upward if we see a rise in the number of people seeking meals.
How you can help now
While we are ALL feeling uncertain at this time, the families, individuals and children we serve need our help more than ever, and we have a plan to provide that help. We ask that you please continue to support Family Promise in any way you can, so we are able to provide services to people who are especially vulnerable during this crisis.
Please stay in touch by checking our website and by following us on social media:
Twitter: @macduggan (Executive Director Kate Duggan)
During this time, the best way to contact the staff is by email. If you have specific questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you as soon as I am able. If you would like to speak with me, please leave a number where I can reach you.
Family Promise of Bergen County was built on the care and concern for others, community response and flexibility, and we have already seen so many reach out and step forward to help during this time. Thank you all for your continued dedication to the families, individuals and children we serve.
Information for volunteers regarding COVID-19 – March 13, 2020
Dear Family Promise Volunteers,
Thank you for your continued commitment to the families, individuals, and to Family Promise in general during this challenging time as we deal with the Coronavirus. We appreciate your dedication and as an organization are committed to keeping you and those in our programs safe.
SPECIAL NOTE for Walk-in Dinner volunteers
At this time, the dinner is proceeding as scheduled. Everyone entering the dining room – staff, volunteers, residents, and guests – are required to use hand sanitizer as an extra precaution. If, however, you and your dinner volunteers decide not to stay and serve, we ask that you alert Family Promise in advance and that you bring the food to Hackensack at 3:45 pm, as usual.
We will be updating this information as the situation changes and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
All of us at Family Promise thank you for your ongoing generous hospitality to our guests.
Kate Duggan, Executive Director