A Day in the COVID-19 Life at the Center
At GCC, we continue to strengthen lives & secure futures – making a difference for our most vulnerable that need our support now more than ever.
When the coronavirus shut down schools and businesses in Wisconsin, Goodman Community Center staff kicked it into high gear (from a safe distance). We knew it would be vital to keep services like our food pantry, family support and older adult support running as much as we could, but in a different format.
The Center halls may be quiet right now, but our incredible staff are still hard at work strengthening lives and securing futures – with your help.
This is what an average Tuesday looks like at GCC these days:
Food Pantry Bag Packing Volunteers and staff arrive bright and early to pack bags for the day’s pantry. The Center is seeing an increase in demand for this service, and we’re ordering 3 times as much food as we would on an average week to keep up.
Distribution Meal Prep In the kitchen, Tyrone and his staff are arriving and beginning prep for afternoon meals to be delivered to seniors. Staff and volunteers are delivering 35 meals every weekday to seniors, and more than 450 meals Wednesday through Friday to children and families.
Drive-thru Pantry Begins The scene is set outside for the food pantry, staff and volunteers are ready for the first patrons to arrive. Maintaining distance is important for staff and food pantry patrons alike, so GCC switched to a drive-thru system in mid-March.
Transition Academy Explores Nature Virtually The Transition Academy is an alternative high school that focuses on hands-on learning. How to do that from a distance? Teachers are at the Center, readying plants for the garden, pruning trees, feeding chickens and filming it all to share with their students.
Distance Learning for Littles Our preschool, 4K, elementary after-school and teen center aren’t taking time off either. From their homes, teachers are preparing lessons and presenting them to students via video. Check out "Art with Ms. Claire" video here.
Pantry in Full Swing By mid-morning, the drive-thru food pantry has cars lined up through the Ironworks parking lot. Today, we’ll serve about 70 families, and each week, we serve between 200 and 400 households.
Keeping Connected to Seniors Normally, on a Tuesday, our older adults would be gathering for lunch, conversation and an activity. This group is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, so it was the first program to be suspended. These days, older adult staff and volunteers call seniors to check in and see how they’re doing.
Meal Delivery in Demand Throughout the day, staff receive calls from new people registering for meals, and they're added to the delivery routes. GCC is now delivering more than 1,400 meals per week to the Darbo/Worthington and Brentwood neighborhoods and the apartments at Union Corners.
Large Donations Help Keep a Stocked Pantry A pantry delivery has arrived from Second Harvest. We’ve received generous bulk donations from supporters like Batch Bakehouse, Epic, FEED Kitchens, Ian’s, Texas Roadhouse and so many more.
Assembly Line Meal Prep for Distribution Back at the Center kitchen, after meals are cooked, they’re packaged and prepared for delivery.
After School Via Video On a normal Tuesday, students would go to school and then come to GCC for our after-school programs. Today, our after-school staff are working to create an after-school feel from a distance by checking in with students and leading activities via video. Here's a "Howard's Cooking Club" video where he demonstrating making a batch of cookies.
Meal Delivery Go Time Drivers arrive at the center and pick up their delivery lists and meals. Safety is our top priority, so to minimize contact, all of our drivers wear masks and gloves and, when it’s possible, drive their own vehicles to deliver meals to the neighborhoods.
Kitchen Sanitized – Ready for Tomorrow At the end of the day, the kitchen staff wash dishes and sanitize all surfaces. In addition to food safety best practices, distancing is practiced here as well. Kitchen Manager Tyrone has scheduled staff so only a few are in the kitchen at any time.
Meal Delivery Helps Keep Vulnerable Neighbors Home By 4:30 p.m., all meals have been delivered. Randy, a veteran and older adult who receives meals, said it’s important for him to be able to stay home: “I have chronic COPD. I’m an insulin diabetic, have high blood pressure. If I caught the coronavirus, I’d probably die from it. These deliveries are very important to me.”
All photos: Jason Houge
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Thank you for your support!
All of the vital work our staff is doing wouldn’t be possible without the support of our community. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!