Non-profit agencies think outside the box when serving others during a pandemic

Non-profit agencies think outside the box when serving others during a pandemic
Updated: Mar. 18, 2020 at 10:46 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Non-profit agencies across Deep and East Texas are thinking outside the box when it comes to service during a pandemic.

Love In the Name of Christ in Nacogdoches’ latest mission is specific to COVID-19 fallout.

Director Patti Goodrum is reaching out to employers who currently or in the future may have displaced hourly workers.

"The folks that are going to have to lay off folks or send people home to take care of their children. And they may have to send their hourly folks home,” explained Goodrum. “We want to reach out to them and help those employees with a couple months rent and utilities specifically."

United Way Nacogdoches is reaching out to its' agencies for innovative service ideas.

"(We) Generate conversation for new ideas. Novel ideas. Out of the box ideas,” said the agency’s executive director, Gary Lee Ashcraft. “How can we take our resources and move them to help others in need?"

The numbers in need are rising at a time when social distancing is a must. COVID-19 advisories present challenges for non-profits, including Tyler's Hiway 80 Rescue Mission.

Rooms for meals and other services are generally full elbow to elbow with people in need.

“The coronavirus and the CDC guidelines on social distancing and limiting the number of people that come in here from 50 to 10 is hard for us to operate,” said Errin Dixon, director of the Hiway 80 Day Center.

United Way, Nacogdoches chair, Kinnie Reina suggests to agencies to ask themselves a question.

"What is essential for that individual? Is it something that can be done remotely, or on the phone, or online rather than something that has to be done in person."

The American Red Cross, East Texas is adapting explained director Tammy Prater.

“We are now screening our volunteers before we send them out. We are also screening our clients before we go see them."

East Texas Community Health Center in Nacogdoches walks medications to their patients' cars. And there's an added bonus too shared Anita Humphreys, the CEO.

“We are a partner with our United Way organization Nacogdoches and through our funding that we receive thru them we’re able to offset the cost of the normal co-pays during this time.”

And at Project HOPE in Nacogdoches food boxes are packed for Thursday's pick up day.

“We are asking clients to stay in their cars,” said volunteer Denise Lee. “And they're going to get pretty much the same thing they would get if they were coming in the pantry."

That’s thanks to pre-disaster planning by Project HOPES' primary food source, the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler.

“There have been no disruptions in the food chain,” assured East Texas Food Bank CEO Dennis Cullane. “In fact, we've been ramping things up. We've been pulling boxes off the shelves that we've had stored just for an emergency. Who could have foreseen one like this."

Non-profits rise to the occasion. When it comes to need, they do it under almost any circumstance.

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