May 4, 2020 2:28 PM - edited May 4, 2020 2:29 PM
My name is Michael Meadows and I'm the Marketing Lead at St. Anthony's and I wanted to share an update on how we've had to pivot during this pandemic.
For almost 70 years, St. Anthony’s has helped support people experiencing homelessness and vulnerable populations in San Francisco with dignity and respect.
Through our efforts, we’ve been able to feed 2,300 guests every day, 365 days a year, provide free clothing with an in-person shopping experience, help bridge the digital divide by offering free on-site computer classes and one-on-one tutoring, and medical service through our clinic. Many of these day to day services were accomplished with the support of 80-100 volunteers a day.
But all that changed when San Francisco became the first city in California to issue stay at home orders.
We had to adapt and adapt quickly, as these needs would not simply not wait.
In fact, these needs actually became more essential as other non-profits were not able to safely provide their own services.
We saw our volume of meals grow to over 3,500 per day within a week and we have now served over 150,000 meals since the pandemic started. Our army of volunteers, many of them in the most susceptible demographic to contract the virus were immediately sidelined. One on one services, gone.
But even as costs have exceeded $400,000 in additional costs, we stepped up without hesitation. We streamlined the dining room operations to prepare meals to go in sustainable, compostable packaging, at our own expense. We’ve enlisted on-site staff to fill volunteer roles to ensure that people do not go hungry. To make sure our guests would not be cut off from others, we set up portable phone charging and laptop stations. We also provided emergency hygiene kits and clothing for those that needed them.
As the pandemic continues, we’ve provided face masks and rented hotel rooms to make sure our guests have somewhere to stay once our winter shelter concluded. In many cases, we’ve had to step in where local government hasn’t.
And even though we’ve had to cancel our fundraising gala and restructure our Spring appeal, it’s because of our supporters that we’re able to continue to innovate, adapt and be inspired by this essential work
Taking these precautions and providing these services, are not simply about the expenditure, the cost not to provide these services are much higher
For this we are grateful, and look forward to continuing to be there whenever there’s a need.
For more information, visit our website at: http://www.stanthonysf.org