Due to staffing challenges, both medical vulnerabilities and also exposure to the Covid 19 virus, we must delay the opening of First Steps. For now, the tentative date is set to coincide with the planned opening of the public schools, receiving children on August 3
These past two weeks since our previous meeting have seen a sharp rise in the incidence of COVID-19 cases in Polk County. Each day seems to record a greater number of new cases than the previous. This is in stark contrast to the leveling off we witnessed earlier in June, a leveling which gave us some security in our decisions to move forward with the reopening of some of our outreach ministries.
Regarding Neighborhood Ministries, Sean Hults told the Committee that his staff has been working toward a July reopening. He will continue to do so if that is the will of the Executive Committee. However, Sean also expressed concern about the sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, as well as the impact that could have on the children, their extended families, and our own staff. For now, those children and families are stable in their childcare needs; that will change when school reopens. The Executive Committee has decided to tie the opening date for Neighborhood Ministries to the Polk County School Board Calendar, which would indicate a tentative opening date in early August.
The Summer Feeding Program operated by the Neighborhood Staff is underway and progressing well with a few more meals distributed each week. This program will continue.
We also authorized Sean Hults to organize some “special events” later in July and when appropriate. One such event might be an offsite picnic where school supplies could be distributed.
What we are experiencing here locally is typical of what is going on in most of the United States. The time for responsible concern for our own health and for the health of those around us continues. This is probably a good time to re-check our own efforts, especially as the momentum of the reopening of the economy and our society at large increases day by day.
My prayer is for each of you to be responsible examples of how good citizens should act in our changing world, both in terms of protecting your own health, and in terms of how you can show the love of Jesus Christ to those around you, however few or many they may be.