Starting in March, we pivoted all of our programs to continue to meet the needs of our community while also keeping our staff, volunteers, and clients safer during COVID-19.
The clinic began doing telehealth visits and curbside prescription pickup. Providers were able to see more patients in a day that way. We also partnered with NeighborHealth and UNC Healthcare to bring COVID-19 testing to our patients and the community at-large. More than 500 people have been tested at our site.
Our pantry went from the county's largest client-choice pantry to curbside. We changed our food sourcing methods in order to continue providing the freshest foods to our neighbors in need, even though it was more expensive.
Our clients have told us the nutritious food we provide is one of the reasons they love coming to our pantry.
We have seen a 150% increase in clients and are serving some people every week rather than once a month or once every three months.
Our volunteers helped with our pivot, too. Usually we operate on a model where volunteers carry us. Over the fiscal year, 1100 volunteers helped us move our mission forward.
In March, we had to change our policies so that fewer people would be in our building.
We do still allow up to 6 volunteers a day in the pantry and one pharmacy volunteer. Many of our clinic volunteers went to work in the pantry. Others, asked what they could do from home and some are doing things for us remotely.
The Helen Wright Center for women was perhaps the most challenging program in terms of sheltering women in congregate settings and keeping them safer from COVID-19.
In addition to opening our new shelter, which was already slated to open before the pandemic, we kept the old building open, and took over another building that became available.
The women are separated between the three buildings in order to maintain proper social distancing.
We were also able to move forward with a Workforce Development Program where women can take certain certification courses in order to get better paying jobs.
Bisi Cameron Saadia Smith