Interfaith Outreach Shifts Focus Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
During the COVID-19 pandemic, needs are still present in the community. Perhaps now more than ever, according to staff members at Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners in Plymouth.
“We’re welcoming a lot of new individuals who are in new situations with job loss and children home from school and different needs,” said Liz Erstad-Hicks, Interfaith Outreach’s community engagement director. “But we also know that clients who were working with us previous to COVID-19 are now seeing increased need with job loss, hours cut.”
She said that many of Interfaith Outreach’s clients would normally spend 65 to 70 percent of their income on rental expenses, but when you add it a minor cut in income, or the loss of a job altogether, it takes a big toll on people.
Meanwhile, since the novel coronavirus outbreak began, Interfaith Outreach has shifted its focus to food, emergency financial assistance and employment services. The nonprofit’s popular Resale Select Store has closed to shoppers, volunteers and donors as a way to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
“So still operating those core essential services, but doing it in a different way to maintain the appropriate distance and safety of our clients, our staff and our volunteers,” Erstad-Hicks said.
Financial Support Needed
In the meantime, Interfaith Outreach still relies on the support of the community. A financial donation can play a big role in helping to keep its services up and running.
“That is a huge need for us right now. That gives us flexibility to offer our services in this different model,” Erstad-Hicks said. “We can purchase food in bulk from our food bank partners. So every dollar that you donate, we can source $9 worth of food. That also limits the number of people handling the food, which makes it safer for all of us.”
People can also donate items to help those in need, particularly diapers and toilet paper.
“So if you happen to have access to toilet paper, we would really appreciate the donations,” she said.
If you’d like to help, you can go to iocp.org/respond.