Small Acts of Caring and Connection Can Help Us Get Through This Crisis
If you feel like you are running out of ideas to stay connected with your community during the pandemic, you are not alone. Social distancing measures have created additional challenges for nonprofits to bring their services to their communities. Yet, with new challenges come new, creative solutions. Some of them are quite simple, such as calling your clients and asking them how they are doing, while some of them require more effort and planning, such as developing a web site where community members can purchase and donate meals prepared by local businesses to front-line health workers.
Some weeks after the pandemic started, we realized it was time to stop thinking about all the things we could not do because of the social distancing measures and learn new ways to stay connected with our Hammonton community. We decided to prioritize three lines of our work during the pandemic:
Keep our community informed about available resources in English and Spanish.
Lead initiatives to reduce barriers to accessing food and other resources for our at-risk population; and
Promote the importance of mental health care and available services
From the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis, we realized the members of our community who only speak Spanish were not getting the information they needed. We decided to use our Hammonton Health Coalition partners’ web sites and social media channels to share information in both languages with residents affected by the crisis. In addition, we partnered with the Hammonton Coronavirus Task Force to translate the information they distribute into Spanish.
We have been leading initiatives to reduce barriers to obtaining food and other resources that are less accessible to our at-risk population, including Latinos and undocumented immigrants. We partnered with Goya Foods and the new Rancocas Creek Farm to donate food to families in need in Hammonton. We distributed face masks made by local entrepreneurs to farmworkers and launched a web site to donate food prepared by local businesses to health workers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the mental health of our community members. To help them, the coalition is providing a free counseling helpline at (609) 878-2007, with services available in English, Spanish, and Sign Language.
These last six months have given us an additional opportunity to show our community all the things we can achieve when working together, even while remaining six feet apart. For information on the Hammonton Health Coalition and how to participate, please reach out to us at Hammonton.HC@gmail.com.