After two months of practicing our ‘Curb Service’, we seem to have a good process in place.   We are getting busier every day, but we aren’t anywhere the number of people we serve as opposed to ‘pre-Covid’ days.   Although the numbers are lower, it takes more time per person than our standard process.  Many of my volunteers have come back to help, and that’s why we have been able to increase our volumes gradually.  Long hours are spent on the phones trying to gather all the info we need to serve a person.  We do get calls from a few people facing eviction, but this month it seems the utility bills are the top concern; apparently the grace period is over and people are getting warnings of final notices approaching. Thanks to financial donations that keep coming in, we are able to offer guests a little more financial assistance than we usually have done; and thanks to the very generous grant from the Catherine Kennedy Foundation, we can particularly help senior citizens with larger amounts.

Our ‘Curb Service’ approach is working well; we gather all the items we are able to share with a guest in advance of their appointment and when they arrive, we wheel ‘their’ cart to the front door and they take their goods to the car. We even have a little stand I call our Country Store at the front door, and they can select some unusual items that might appeal to them –  different types of coffees, teas, other beverages, a variety of spices and condiments, some baking items and treats and even some housewares.  This month, we were finally in a position to be able to receive a large shipment of the TEFAP food from the food bank (The Emergency Food Assistance Program from the government.)  The folks at the foodbank were kind enough to deliver it, and they even sent a couple young people from the National Guard to assist. We love it when we get help from young muscle!

As for donations of material goods, we are slowly getting ready to be able to accept more items.  With the change in weather, we will start taking small amounts of clothing; this month I’d like to ask for men’s jeans or khakis, underwear and socks.  I would also ask that you please call me to arrange a time to drop off any donations; if unidentified donations are left at our door, we end up putting them in the dumpster.  (You could also send me a note at outreach@thestmaryparish.org).

My next challenge is to figure out how we will handle our Thanksgiving project … and then think about our Christmas projects. Watch this space for more info as we make our plans.

Blessings,

Mary Ann