And so we continue into the second month of stay-at-home orders and social distancing. Aside from simply overcoming boredom (thanks, YouTube) and trying to retain some type of social connection (thanks, Zoom), a major challenge these days is to simply not become consumed by the constant stream of bad news. Getting frequent updates on infection counts, hospitalization rates, number of fatalities, etc,...is almost overwhelming. My goal (other than beating Rita in a pull-up contest) is to try to put the phone away and focus elsewhere. I recently found some rays of sunlight shining through the clouds in our storm - and thought I'd share:
In the photo above, Mignon Belongie is volunteering in the Samaritan House kitchen. I first met Mignon at a Arboretum Society volunteer event in Central Park last fall - helping to replant the butterfly garden. Mignon also volunteered at our February GROW San Mateo event in Beresford Park.
Every Thursday afternoon at the Samaritan House in San Mateo, we've gotten to see Mignon - either packing grocery bags in the food pantry - or assembling hot meals in the kitchen. It's so nice to see a familiar face (even if it's mostly covered by a mask). There's little time for chatting or catching up as the kitchen cranks out hundreds of meals each day that are delivered to client homes and facilities such as the Safe Harbor Shelter. Last year over a million meals were served by the kitchen - really impressive.
As you can imagine, the COVID-19 pandemic is an enormous challenge for Samaritan House. A huge spike in the need for help is straining resources - while critical adjustments had to be made to keep staff, clients & volunteers safe from the virus. For example, they've completely reengineered the food distribution process so that clients simply pull their cars into the parking lot, have groceries loaded into their trunk by volunteers, then drive off without ever needing to get out of their car. There is a nearly continuous line of cars each day seeking food assistance.
Thanks to volunteers like Mignon, dedicated staff and generous donors in the community - Samaritan House is rising to the occasion - a bright ray of sunshine peering through the otherwise ominous sky. In this time of great need - Samaritan House needs your help to continue their work. Here are two ways to help:
1) Donate. Please consider a financial contribution to Samaritan House if you can afford it. Here's the link: https://samaritanhousesanmateo.org/donate/
2) Volunteer. https://samaritanhousesanmateo.org/volunteer/
Thank you, neighbors. I look forward to seeing you all and digging our hands in the soil when this storm blows through. Until then, be safe & be well.