Happy In-TER-dependence Day!
Bart Charlow, CEO
Yes, you read that right. I’m renaming the holiday in honor of what it means today to be part of the American community – ours in fact.
Because hundreds of folks volunteered to help us ramp up all the extra services we need to keep people fed. We have been seeing between 200-320 cars lined up per day for our drive-through Food Pantry, with an average of 200+ new cars coming through every week since April. These are all folks who are food insecure. And our Kitchen went from cooking and distributing 600 hot meals/day to about double that right now.
Because hundreds of our neighbors working from home learned to sew face masks to keep our staff, volunteers and clients, safe. We needed literally thousands of masks, surgical gowns for our Clinics, and all sorts of personal protective equipment to keep serving people in crisis. Our Free Clinics have been successful in keeping people out of the local hospitals so that their emergency rooms were free to handle the COVID caseloads. Many of our health care professionals, who are in a risk group themselves, keep on seeing our patients remotely via telehealth. And the demand for our Food Pharmacies is up over 60% now.
Because our governmental partners funded new ways to house the highly vulnerable homeless living on our streets. Pre-COVID we housed over 90 homeless adults nightly in our Safe Harbor Shelter. Our County secured state and federal funding to lease hotel rooms to spread them out safely, plus another 90 beds for the homeless on the streets living with chronic health conditions. And we now support them spread across 2 facilities and multiple hotels each day.
Because over a thousand new individuals, families, groups and companies- who still have resources, generously sent us funds to keep people housed and healthy. Over 3,500 households have applied for help paying their rent while they have lost their incomes. We’re delivering over $200,000 a week in assistance to keep them from becoming homeless. And we get more applications for help every day than we used to get in a whole week before the pandemic.
The old American myth is that we are all independent rugged individualists living out on the frontier. In reality, we are suburbanites and city folks who depend on each other in so many ways just to get by.
From the laid-off child care worker, whom you need to care for your kids so you can go back to your work to the restaurateur, who needs you and that worker to keep his business afloat. We are part of one community.
This crisis is demonstrating once and for all that we need each other, and more importantly, that in a pinch we can depend on one another. That’s the America that our founders desired.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union… promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity...
They understood that our independence is secured on the basis of our interdependence. That we are all in this together. And if I must navigate this crisis, I am glad to be in it together with you.
I have always said that Samaritan House is the great heart of a great community. Thank you for proving that is true!