Coronavirus Disease and VOA
At Volunteers of America Northern Rockies (VOA) we serve the most vulnerable people in our communities. Eight weeks ago we began planning for contingencies and protocols within our programs in an effort to stay ahead of this dynamically changing global crisis. VOA staff and volunteers are committed to keeping all of our critical services operational. In this current time of trial and health concern, we are here to serve those at risk, to keep them in their homes or help them find housing, to help them overcome addiction, to give hope where there is none.
Each night there are more than 500 people in our residential programs and hundreds others in our homeless outreach programs. Their care, protection and wellbeing are the reasons VOA exists and the reasons our staff are so passionate about serving them during difficult times. Most of the children, families and Veterans we serve do not have the resources necessary to ensure their basic needs are being met. Our 17 offices across Montana, Wyoming and Western South Dakota remain committed to supporting those in need now more than ever.
The Executive Team within VOA is meeting daily to stay informed through reliable sources of information such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Action plans have been put in place for each program that strives to ensure the safety of its clients, team members and communities. Some of the steps taken include the following:
- Sheridan, WY Empty Bowl Event has been rescheduled
- All gatherings of more than 10 individuals have been canceled or adjusted in size (this includes bible studies, chapel services, AA/NA meetings, senior gatherings and staff meetings)
- Program tours have been cancelled until further notice
- Residential client engagement with external activities has been limited
- Client, staff, essential volunteers and vendors serving residential programs are required to submit to temperature screenings
- All new program referrals are screened for COVID-19
- A COVID Operations Taskforce has been established and meets daily
- Mommy’s Closet in Rapid City, SD is meeting the unique needs of single mothers through prepackaged boxes and scheduled case management
- Where possible case management is being completed via phone rather than brining vulnerable populations to VOA offices
- Plans are in place for several levels of crisis response
Volunteers of America is more concerned than ever for the well being of those we have been called to serve. Fragile seniors, homeless veterans, neglected youth, those living in addiction and families in need of shelter are often disconnected from loved ones and support systems. In many cases we are their only family.
Right now, you can join us in our efforts to be there for the most vulnerable in your community. Will you give $25 each month to help those in need? Your compassionate gift can feed, shelter, and give hope to men, women and children across Montana, Wyoming and Western South Dakota.
Join us today is serving the region’s most vulnerable. Help us in this foreboding time.
Jeff Holsinger, CEO
p.s. for those who, like me, find your rock in Christ, I invite you to do one more important thing each day, please keep our vulnerable neighbors in your prayers. Our country was founded on the strength of neighbors helping neighbors.