Hello Community Partners,
While some of ACTS services will be reduced, the demand for others will likely increase - in particular, our Senior Link and Hunger Prevention Programs (especially home delivery to shut in seniors). This will be occurring at the very same time many of our most consistent older volunteers will choose to stay home. Thus, we are asking staff to consider redeploying to one of these areas:
Senior Link: These are simple five to ten minute calls to home-bound seniors to check in to see how they are doing, offer services, or simply to provide personal contact. The demand for these is likely to increase (as we will be advertising the service), and we do not expect to be able to meet the demand with current staff and volunteer levels.
It requires very little training to make these types of calls - the are NOT crisis calls. These calls can be made from either our Manassas or Dumfries offices. As the only other people in these buildings will be administration, social distancing will be easy to accommodate. Kate Long, our Helpine Director, will coordinate this operation (firstname.lastname@example.org). Similarly, we expect demand for food to increase. The majority of our regular Hunger Prevention Program volunteers are seniors and will not be coming in. Volunteers will be needed to prepare bags of food for clients and others to make home deliveries.
We have expanded our food pick-up hours to 9:00-3:00 Monday through Friday (closed for lunch 11:30-12:30). Clients will simply need to check in and pick up their bags. They will do this at the garage door, so no one will be coming into a closed office. To do this efficiently, we need to continually be pre-bagging food. We are also offering to expand our grocery home delivery program. This will require additional staff/volunteers to make deliveries. Except in those instances where recipients are physically unable to handle the bags themselves, we will be leaving the groceries at the front door. Background checks are necessary to deliver to people's homes. Shirley Couteau, our Volunteer Coordinator (email@example.com) will coordinate scheduling.
Our goal for Housing to to quickly consolidate our three residential programs into two and then to permanently house everyone, reducing the amount of staff coverage needed. Even so, depending on the personal situations of some of the individual housing staff, we may need staff to volunteer to redeploy to one of these programs. We will also be limited to how quickly we can house some clients due to the County's Coordinated Entry System. We anticipate we may need to use hotels in some instances.
Our Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services Units will be working remotely for individual services, and all groups will be cancelled.
Our Emergency Assistance office will move to a completely virtual appointment system with no walk-ins.
Our Helpline will continue to operate as normal. If necessary, they will be able to work remotely.
Anyone interested in volunteering can do so by first completing our online application at ACTS Volunteers. Shirley will reach out to you within 24 hours.
For those looking to donate, food is always appreciated, as our regular donations are expected to decrease - especially from grocery stores. However, financial donations will also be needed (dropped off, mailed or through our Quick Donate feature on our website), because we will need to purchase some food in bulk, pay for hotels for our Domestic Violence and Homeless clients, and to cover staff salaries (as ACTS has committed to pay all of our staff their regular salaries throughout this crisis).
While ACTS will do everything we can to protect the health of our staff and the public, we will continue to serve our neighbors during this time of crisis.
Steven G. Liga MSW, LSW, LSATP, CPS, CCS Chief Executive Officer