After being closed for three months due to Covid, we started a pilot program in June to determine if we could serve those in need, while keeping everyone as safe as possible. We developed a “Curbside Service” program. We’ve put out the word that we are offering assistance on an appointment basis. We’ve given out information asking people to call us on a special number (910-782-4021) if they are in need of help. They need to leave a message with their contact info, and we return their call.
We now do all the interviewing over the phone that we would typically do in person in ‘normal’ times. We discuss their situation and we decide if we are able to provide any help. We are primarily offering financial assistance, limited food, hygiene items and diapers. Once we determine we have items for them, we then set an appointment time and date for pickup. Then we set about filling the ‘orders’; we gather everything requested by a person and load a cart with the items. When the guest shows up at their assigned time, we meet them at the front door with their cart. There is no need for them to enter the building, and we have very limited contact; we wear masks when we meet them and ask that they do the same. I have masks available for anyone that needs one.
We got off to a slow start, but this past week we noticed a significant increase in volume (I think the word is on the street now!). We think we have the new process well organized, thanks to help from several volunteers. We don’t have specific days we set appointments; we are playing it by ear, depending on the volume of calls. As you may recall, we typically close in August each year, but since we were shut down for a few months, we are working this August.
Now for the bad news: unfortunately, we are still unable to accept donations of clothing or any material goods. The primary reason is the inability to sanitize items we receive. We are not running the van to do any pickups or deliveries. Thank you for understanding that we are unable to accept your items until further notice; there are several other agencies in and around town that are accepting donations.
Over time, we look forward to getting back to ‘full service”, but it will be a gradual transition. Please keep us in your prayers as we do our best to help those in need.