COVID-19 has certainly brought about uncertain change for both our resident families and the way we have had to operate.
To support the families, Gilead House provided additional support in a number of ways.
During the early days of the shelter-in-place rules , our moms did not have the ability to work. As a result, they did not have the money to purchase groceries and support their kids. To ensure everyone was safe and had what they needed, staff members went to Costco and local grocery stores to buy food and other stable products for the families. We augmented our grocery purchases with an appeal to our support community for unused gift cards to stores like Target, Safeway, Rite-Aid, and CVS.
Since we were not able to bring everyone together safely, we altered our Life Skills classes and spiritual support services and took them online. And to ensure all had access to these services, we provided several with Chromebook computers and taught all how to set-up and use video conferencing tools.
To help support the kids, we established an online tutoring program for all of the kids with support from volunteer tutors from as far away as Long Island, New York. In all, we have conducted more than 120 individual tutoring sessions.
For the organization, we have been operating with most staff at home since March.
We also had to stop our efforts to identify and bring new families into the program as we could not move them into the house safely.
As the shelter-in-place orders have slowly been lifted, our moms and families are getting back to a more normal pace. All moms are back at work in some capacity and we are currently evaluating reopening our interview process for new moms and families
From the very first days of shelter-in-place, we have been overwhelmed by the love and support of our community: from those who have long been associated with Gilead House to those who were complete strangers who found out about us in some fashion and just wanted to help. People have given gift cards and cash donations and clothing and blankets and stuffed animals and books and games - all to support our families.
We’ve also seen love and support from restaurants and food suppliers in our community who had extra to share with us. Chick-fil-A, Tommy’s Salsa, Beso, Extra Food, Celine’s Sweets, to name some. The list is long. To each and every one, thank you.