All of us suddenly and unexpectedly find ourselves in the midst of a national health crisis that will test us as individuals, as communities, and as a nation. The challenges before us are like nothing we have ever seen, and we are all now forced to endure huge life adjustments and restrictions that will be with us for quite some time.
During this time of extreme strife and uncertainty, St Vincent de Paul of Baltimore is ever more dedicated to the safety, health, and wellbeing of our staff and those we serve.
Maintaining Critical Services
While the best course of action with this type of outbreak is for everyone to stay at home as much as possible and limit contact with others, many of those we serve have no home to go to. They are staying in one of our four shelters: the Sarah’s Hope, Hannah More, and Innterim House Family Shelters, and our Monument Street Men’s Shelter.
We continue to provide daily meal services at the Beans and Bread Homeless Day Resource Center on a “To Go” basis. Our KidzTable central community kitchen continues to provide healthy food access by producing and delivering 4,000 meals a day throughout the region to individuals and families at shelters, other congregate care facilities, and recreation sites. These services must continue. I am so grateful for our dedicated staff members who are bravely on the front lines of this crisis, serving the most vulnerable in our community.
We are also adapting some of our other vital supportive services, such as providing remote case management by phone to the hundreds of men, women, and families in our housing programs who need our support now more than ever to stay safely housed.
Protecting Health and Safety
The health and safety of our guests, volunteers, staff, and partners is always a top priority. To keep everyone as safe as possible, we have implemented strict measures, including suspending some services, encouraging social distancing, and temporarily pausing all on-site volunteers so that we may limit, control, and monitor the number of people in our facilities.
We are now screening everyone in our facilities each day, both clients and staff, for possible COVID-19 infection. We are doing everything in our power to make sure those who are identified as needing testing, and medical care, receive it. We have also implemented enhanced cleaning and frequent sanitation of our facilities, increased access to hand sanitizer, added more signage and verbal reminders to wash hands, and educated our staff and clients about safe practices.
How You Can Help
I am ever so grateful to you for supporting us as we persevere during this crisis and continue to feed, shelter, and house the most vulnerable in our community. I know many of you are also facing tough times. Please know that you, and all who are affected by this terrible crisis, are in my prayers.
For those of you who would like to help us, here is what you can do:
- Make a Gift Today: Monetary donations are needed now more than ever. As we continue to provide essential services, we are incurring huge additional costs, including increased staffing, food, medical supplies and other materials in order to stretch our capacities to meet the need.
- Donate Supplies: We need extra supplies for our shelters, to supplement meals and give our residents support with other needs. You can purchase our most needed supplies and have them shipped directly through our Amazon Wishlist.
- Spread the Word: We need help! Please use digital media to repost our updates and needs. You can connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
We are bracing ourselves for greater need, as many individuals and families will lose their income due to the economic fall-out from this crisis. We anticipate a large portion of our community will face hardships beyond their control that will limit their ability to maintain stability. We need your support, now more than ever, to answer the calls for help with food, shelter, housing, and employment services.
We’re All in this Together
St. Vincent de Paul has been serving those in need in the Baltimore area for 155 years. We have weathered many storms. With the support of you and others in our community, we fully expect to weather this storm too, while continuing to provide of critical services to the community.
Let us keep foremost in our thoughts that we are in this together. While we can't physically be together in close proximity right now, we can continue to be together in a spirit of compassion, care, and kindness for one another while we unite to fight this virus.
Thank you for believing in our mission and for demonstrating your kindness and generosity in making this world a better place for those who are suffering. Let us all pray for the strength to persevere through this crisis with grace and faith that, together, we will overcome this grave challenge. Please stay safe!
President and CEO