As I was leaving the office on Wednesday last week, I overheard a conversation between a teacher and a mother who’d come to pick up her son from our child development center. The mother, a nurse at a local hospital, was asking typical questions:
How did he do today? How did he eat? We’ve been working on him drinking from a sippy cup instead of a bottle, so how did that go?
All with the backdrop of COVID-19: warning signs posted at the doors, stop signs preventing parents from entering the facility, and conversations about how the family is handling everything.
I was struck by both the normality of the interaction and the strangeness. This is hard. For all of us in different ways.
Our child development centers have realized a 75% decline in attendance -- most of the children we cared for this week are from families where both parents work performing essential services to the community.
More women are walking in our doors looking for shelter, but our shelters are at capacity. For the previously homeless women we've transitioned to apartments, our team is creatively working to stay in contact and lend support, even while minimizing in-person visits.
All our work is safety focused, but we must pay attention to the many ways our families facing poverty and homelessness might not be safe – even while we are all focused on protection from the virus.
CTL's income is down significantly with the reduction in attendance, cancellation of events and earned revenue. We are creating financial plans to meet the occasion while planning to provide new and additional services because our families need them. There are no members of our community who are untouched by the impact of this virus.
This is hard.
Yet, we know we aren’t alone. Donors have called and let us know they are lifting restrictions on gifts so that we can meet immediate needs. Daily calls and emails from our partners foster collaboration and community. I’m humbled by everyone’s courage and selflessness. It is the moments of kindness that really move me. It is hard to be kind when you’re scared. But some employees, board and community members have simply been kind, thoughtful and generous. Those acts of kindness will keep us going and get us through.
Your kindness and generosity are needed. If you have funds to support our efforts, we need them (click here). If you have spare cleaning supplies, diapers, wipes, canned goods – please consider dropping them off at our facility downtown. We will get them to families that need them. I will be in touch with you – but please – be in touch with us. Let us know how you are. You matter so much so all of us.
As I’ve been saying to employees all week - keep calm, carry on and wash your hands.
To learn more about how CTL operates during COVID-19, you can read here.