Dear friends and partners,
The COVID-19 pandemic has our attention -- as I am sure it has yours.
As one of our most important supporters, I am writing to let you know Volunteers of America Chesapeake & Carolinas (VOACC) has quickly mobilized and will continue to closely monitor the current COVID-19 crisis. We are working to ensure that the 9,600 residents and clients of our programs, especially our shelters and supportive housing facilities, across the DMV and the Carolinas are protected from the spread of germs. As you know, this is a very serious public health situation, and one that could disproportionately impact those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
In addition to all of the recommended guidelines of hand washing, using hand sanitizer, diligently wiping down surfaces, covering coughs and sneezes, and quickly identifying anyone who may have the symptoms of COVID-19, I want you to know VOACC has implemented the following:
Recommending all nonessential employees to work from home
Cancelling all work travel
Cancelling all in person meetings and gatherings of large groups
Postponing program tours
Suspending all events and volunteer activities until June.
We are more concerned than ever for the well-being of those we have been called to serve. Fragile seniors, isolated veterans, vulnerable adults with disabilities, weary families and all those who struggle with mental illness, substance use, and homelessness are often disconnected from loved ones and support systems. VOACC in many cases are their only family.
Out of an abundance of caution, our executive leadership team have also made the decision to move our VOICE of Faith annual reception and fundraiser to Thursday, June 18.
During this crisis, the safety of our clients and staff will be our highest priority, however, we will also make every effort to meet the immediate needs of our vulnerable adults and families during this disruption. As many of our families have household incomes below the average median income, the need for food and other support is something we will be monitoring with all of our clients, especially if the disruption is extended.
During this crisis, the safety of our clients and staff will be our highest priority. However, we are also making every effort to meet the immediate needs of our vulnerable adults and families during this disruption and need the support of the community. The reality is that in addition to being uninsured or underinsured for medical care, most of our homeless and low-income clients do not have the financial means to stock up a pantry. Things like free and reduced school breakfasts and lunches that the children in our shelters and supportive housing programs rely on for their daily nutrition are also at risk with the recent school closures. Many of our low-income parents also have jobs that can’t be done remotely and have limited access to childcare.
There are many ways to make a difference for the men, women and children we serve. But the most effective and safest way you can get involved now as this crisis continues to unfold is by making a financial donation to provide nourishing meals, warm and safe shelter and additional support to those who need it the most. Please remember: YOU make our work possible.