At Family Promise, desperate times call for creative measures.
The COVID-19 crisis has been a proving ground for Family Promise Affiliates, volunteers, and partners across the country as service providers resort to unique and creative measures that ensure vulnerable families to continue to receive the support they need while working to regain independence.
Over the next several weeks we’ll be highlighting the unique ways Affiliates are serving families battling homelessness during this challenging time.
Family Promise of the Capital Region in Albany, NY, is one of many Affiliates that have begun sheltering families in place to better secure their health and wellbeing. A host congregation’s parsonage is home to the Affiliate’s day center, and the two families currently in the shelter program are now self-quarantining there with staff oversight. Executive Director Mary Giordano reports all are doing well, with several of the children and one mom doing their schoolwork online now that school buildings have closed.
Although supporters are unable to volunteer their time in person, many continue to deliver nutritious meals to the day center every day, and those who can’t are sending grocery store gift cards. In addition, graduate families can contact the Affiliate with any needs, especially as shopping has become more difficult.
“The staff runs errands, like getting prescriptions at the drive-through pharmacy, or collecting necessities like laundry detergent, diapers, and food items. We’re doing what we’re calling ‘doorstep drop-offs’ to make sure families have what they need,” says Giordano.
She adds that the road to independence has taken a detour for parents who have lost income due to business closures, adding that Family Promise and families are adjusting as things constantly change.
Giordano notes that one change she’s certain will happen once the dust settles on the COVID-19 pandemic is volunteer training.
“We’ll have to add pandemic crisis training to the program!” she laughs.