Rising to Meet the Needs of Our Participants During COVID-19

In a time when everyone’s anxiety is heightened and mental health feels challenged, imagine how it must feel when that is already your everyday struggle and now COVID19 has been added to it. We each are facing challenges that we never imagined. Our participants need more support than ever, in more ways than ever before. And we need your help.

Courage from Property & Development and Clean Start

Our cleaners and cleaning teams are still hard at work for us, as well as other businesses and organizations. They’re cleaning for other front line organizations and shelters, who rely on this daily service in order to operate. Cleaners are also deep cleaning our residential facilities two times a day. We’ve hired an additional staff person to keep up. Our cleaning costs are increasing.

Innovation from Just Us Women’s Centre and Community Support Program

While there’s been a reduction in the group services we regularly offer, we’ve innovated to provide similar counselling and employment services by phone and online. We have been offering group counselling services by teleconference with participants at the Correctional Facility for Women in Clarenville. But the innovation doesn’t stop there!

The Community Support team has changed how they do some of their vital activities with participants – the medication delivery runs now have to be completely no-contact and yet still safely delivered. Taking participants to the grocery store in vehicles has also changed. Social distancing safety means fewer people in each van, which means more vehicles on the road, and more trips each day. Our gas bills are increasing.  

The staff at Just Us are now checking on their participants individually by phone and are delivering groceries, along with hygiene items and wellness activities each week to food-insecure and vulnerable women. We estimate it will cost an additional $5,000 to sustain the provision of supplies to the Just Us participants if social distancing measures last another 6 weeks. Our grocery bills are increasing. 

Connection at Naomi Centre, Emmanuel House, and Brian Martin Housing Resource Centre

The Message is stay home: but what if you don’t have a home? For many of us it’s easy to abide by calls to stay home and stay indoors. We’re under our own roof, surrounded by our own possessions and hobbies that we enjoy. But what if you aren’t? How easy is it then to follow the social distancing orders?

The Message is stay connected with technology: but what if you don’t own any? The idea of staying connected by technology seems achievable to those of us who can call, text, Facetime or Skype with friends and family members. We’re directed to find COVID19 updates on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s website. We’re told to self-assess using an online tool before dialing 811. How can you do this without accessing the internet? Or owning a phone?

For our residents at Naomi Centre (our emergency shelter for young women) and Emmanuel House (our residential counselling program), they’re not in their own homes. They’re in borrowed space, with few things to call their own. For our participants through the Brian Martin Housing Resource Centre, they’re transitioning to their own housing, often without many possessions.

Most of these participants do not have cell phones, tablets, or laptops, making it impossible to maintain social connection, to access new COVID19 information, to use the self-assessment tool, or call for help.

We’re providing vulnerable participants with cell phones and calling cards, and we’re also installing smart TVs in our residential rooms. But these are not luxury items. These items provide them with the connection to our community that many assume everyone can access, when in reality, some cannot. Now our staff can also check in with participants in a safer way and keep practicing social distancing.

How would your social distancing time pass without television or Netflix? Could you sit inside all day with nothing to help pass the time?

Exactly. For the emotional wellbeing of our participants, we’re providing them with some of the simple comforts of home the rest of us take for granted. Our technology costs are increasing.

Every Dollar (or Two) Makes a Difference

Our Meals Squared program proves just that. Thanks to this program, the Hungry Heart Café team has prepared over 1400 individually packaged meals which have been delivered to our participants. Over 1400! This program has traditionally been funded by the patrons who kindly add $2 to their bill when dining in the café. Although our dining room is now closed, our kitchen is still open, and we still need donations to provide meals to those in need. 1000s more meals will need to be prepared before the public health emergency is finally lifted. Our café and packaging costs are increasing. 

Your donation keeps our participants safe. Keeps them fed, healthy and under a roof. Keeps their homes clean and comfortable. Keeps them connected in social isolation, as we all need to be. We need your help more now, than ever before, to keep them safe. 

Please consider a donation to Stella’s Circle’s COVID19 Response. We’re in this together. Hope lives here.

Donate COVID19