When it became apparent that our day-to-day operations at St. Vincent de Paul Louisville would be turned upside down, I quickly shifted the focus of our monthly newsletter, The Good Samaritan, to update donors on how we would be caring for clients and to solicit donations to replace revenue that would be lost due to canceling fundraising events.
This newsletter, along with weekly email updates, elicited an overwhelming response. Donations are up 22% over this time last year.
At St. Vincent de Paul Louisville, the well-being of our clients is of topmost concern and is what drives us every day. Current events surrounding the coronavirus reinforce our mission to care for the most vulnerable of our community.
We are following best practices as directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Louisville Department of Health and Wellness for cleaning all surfaces in common areas and offices, social distancing, and protecting the health of our clients, volunteers, and staff.
We are committed to providing uninterrupted services to our clients and adapting procedures as needed to ensure the safety of our clients, volunteers, and staff.
In order to follow social distancing guidelines, we’re changing a few procedures on campus.
Traditionally, the Food Pantry has been client choice, which means people can shop for the food they want. To minimize contact, we are prepackaging groceries, so when clients come to shop on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they simply pick up their groceries.
The Open Hand Kitchen prides itself on family-style dining and hot, healthy meals. To minimize close contact, we’re preparing sack lunches and dinners to hand out during regular operating hours.
Ozanam Inn Men’s Shelter houses 88 men nightly. During check in to the shelter each afternoon, we are performing a wellness check on each individual. If someone is running a fever or presenting other symptoms, we are referring them to the health department. During White Flag nights, we are limiting the number of men admitted to 30, so we can keep mattresses spaced appropriately.
Case management is one of the many things that makes St. Vincent de Paul Louisville so special. Our case managers help clients navigate the difficult process of getting back on their feet and their life back on track. As you can imagine, this requires a lot of face-to-face work. For the time being, all case managers are conducting client meetings over the phone and making home visits in only the most necessary situations. Those rare home visits will be conducted with the utmost consideration of our clients’ and case managers’ health.
Many women in Roberts Hall and St. Jude Women’s Recovery Center are in high-risk categories. As such, we have ramped up cleaning procedures and are encouraging limited social contact in these close-quarter environments.
The after-school program at the Family Success Center follows the JCPS school schedule, so if the kids are not in school, the program is not open. Part of the program is the Dare to Care Kid’s Café, in which every child in the after-school program receives a meal. While the kids will miss out on the critical programming we provide, JCPS is providing meals for the kids while classrooms are closed.
Like others, we’re experiencing shortages of hand sanitizer and cleaning products recommended by the CDC for personal hygiene and cleaning surface areas. We have started making our own sanitizers and cleaners, making these supplies readily available to clients and staff.
Some of our staff have begun working from home, but those that can and feel safe to do so are coming into the office.
St. Vincent de Paul Louisville relies on fundraising events to support our mission. We also have volunteer events where people come together to assemble hygiene kits, patch and paint buildings, and clean up the campus. We have postponed all scheduled events, but that also means we have postponed contributions critical to supporting our mission.
To reiterate, we are committed to providing uninterrupted services in a way that is safe for staff, volunteers, and clients. Now more than ever, the most vulnerable need our help. We will remain vigilant and agile as this situation changes.
How You Can Help
While donations of in-demand supplies are appreciated, we ask that you visit our website at svdplou.org/donate-now and make a donation or return the enclosed envelope with your contribution. Doubling your standard donation or making a donation if you haven’t in the past helps to fill the gap left behind from postponing important fundraising activities and will allow us to move swiftly and purchase needed items as this event evolves.
In the coming weeks and months, we will also need a steady stream of volunteers to provide continuous services to our clients. If you can lend a hand, please call Donna Young at (502) 301-8688.
Now more than ever, we need your support to sustain our mission.