Stories from the frontline
As we surpass our first 30 days of Shelter in Place orders, I want to call out and give kudos to our amazing staff. While we all have a deep appreciation for our healthcare workers, delivery, grocery and essential staff keeping our communities moving – HomeFirst staff are among those making sure critical services are being provided to our most vulnerable citizens.
In addition to regular duties, we have team members who have stepped in to fill frontline shortages as we have expanded shelter services. We have staff covering for colleagues who may need to be out to care for their families or themselves. While this group of people have always operated with a focus on our mission, I have seen them elevate their commitment, checking in on each other and providing exceptional service to those in our shelters, managing kids at home, sharing where to get the elusive toilet paper, and shouldering the stress COVID-19 has caused all of us.
Our Volunteer Coordinator is helping pick-up food donations and working with our driving team to get meals delivered across our sites, from Gilroy to Mountain View daily; driving the box truck himself when needed. Our Outreach Team and Community Engagement Coordinator are helping new participants at the Mabury Bridge Housing Community (BHC) site get settled into their sleeping cabins, ensuring each has a welcome kit and access to hot meals. We have new staff who were barely with us for a month when the crisis hit – and brought with them infectious disease knowledge and have helped our volunteers design handmade masks. And our shelter management team stay busy with continued updates to increase the safety of those sheltering with us – while also ramping up and opening two additional 24/7 shelters.
There are too many stories of our amazing staff for me to recount for you here but every day I see them in action, pivoting and adjusting for this “new normal” and I wanted to share with you how much I appreciate all they do.
A special note to those of you who answered our call to action in our last update. Monetary donations and boxes of supplies have begun arriving at our admin office, full of needed items like masks, towels, blankets, sweatpants and underwear. You are part of us – part of Team HomeFirst – and we could not do what we do without your ongoing support! Thank you. We face an uncertain recovery from this virus and the economic impact that will continue rippling through our community. I ask that you continue to remember us and who we serve as we carry on together through this crisis.
In the meantime, I'd like to share a few "behind-the-scenes" shots of HomeFirst staff – no blooper reel available!