Bees and Sunflowers in Front of Gordon Neighbourhood House, July 2020.
To our friends, volunteers, members, neighbours, and partners:
It’s been a while since we last connected, and it’s good to take this opportunity to bring you up to speed with what has been happening around Gordon Neighbourhood House. Like the rest of the world, we have been shifting, changing and adapting to this new world – and looking for innovative new ways to bring people together.
On March 17th we made a difficult decision to close to the public, citing rising case counts in our neighbourhood. Little did we know at that time about the difficult road that would lie ahead. Like you, we bundled up at home and began learning about the new concepts that would define our lives – social distancing, cough etiquette, flattening the curve, and more.
But while our doors closed, the work never stopped – and I am proud to highlight the hard work of Gordon House staff during the first months of COVID-19. Staff made calls to over 300 members, and in some cases called regularly for weeks. We provided referrals and support to the folks that needed it; we ran socially distanced tax clinics for hundreds of older adults in our neighbourhood; and we began providing online family programs, language classes, yoga classes and more. We distributed over $60,000 in grocery store gift cards (with an average amount of about $150.00), $10,000 in Farmers Market coupons, and we re-opened our community farms. And, as soon as we got the green light from Vancouver Coastal Health, we began distributing meals to seniors and families in need. And I am proud to announce that as of this week, we have distributed over 2500 meals during COVID-19!
This summer, we began running in-person programming again in the parks and plazas of the West End. These socially distanced, masked-up, six-person gatherings have been a great chance for us all of us to build confidence being in community again – and it has been wonderful to see you again.
As we look to the fall, I think we are all a little uncertain about what is to come. Our Management team is making contingency plans to ensure uninterrupted service regardless of what happens with COVID-19. Here is a little bit of what you can expect – and of course, like everything during COVID-19, these plans are subject to change!
· In the event of a lockdown: Social programs move online and staff will check in with members regularly. Meals will continue via delivery; childcare will remain open unless otherwise directed.
· In the event of local community transmission, but no lockdown: Social programs will be provided online or outdoors. In the event of inclement weather, we are seeking to provide seniors programs indoors with strict safety protocols in place. If all goes as planned, we will look at opening Family Place indoors. Meals will continue via delivery and childcare will remain open.
Unfortunately, we are not able to re-open the Attic Thrift Store for the foreseeable future or re-open our facility to the general public. We will be sure to update our members once this changes.
This brings me to my final point – we need your help. With the loss of revenue from both Thrift Stores and our lunch program, and a decline in donations, we need your help. We are currently receiving 1/1500th of the community financial support that existed pre-COVID-19. The best way to give is by signing up to become a monthly donor. You can sign up at the following link.