We have always known that the work we do at Neighbor to Neighbor is ABSOLUTELY essential. COVID-19 now highlights the true need that exists in our own backyard and just how critical we are to our vulnerable neighbors. We are fortunate to be a part of an amazingly thoughtful community. Despite long days that are at times overwhelming, we continue our good work knowing we are a catalyst for neighbors to help one another.
The number of people in need of food support practically doubled in a few short weeks! Food supplies and inventory were greatly impacted in the early weeks of our nation’s shutdown and yet we continued to serve our community. Despite the closure of our clothing room, due to COVID-19 concerns and the health and safety of our staff, clients and volunteers, we were able to meet the most urgent needs for families: the parents of a newborn searching for baby clothes, a new mom of premature twins desperate for baby formula, a proud new dad thrilled to receive a supply of diapers. The gratitude has been overwhelming: personal notes, messages on social media, and shouts of “thank you” to our drivers helps fuel our work.
When isolation took over our community, our town’s organizations banded together. Within weeks, and with the gracious support of Arch Street Teen Center, TAG and Greenwich Department of Human Services, we were able to establish systems to build our community network. We collectively supply resources to families and advocate for the most vulnerable in our community. Every week, we provide an additional 500+ households with nutritious food, snacks and essential items through our partnerships with the Greenwich Commission on the Aging, Jewish Family Services, CCI, Meals on Wheels, and Greenwich Public Schools. We know how integral each of our missions are to our community and we continue to support each other to maximize our impact!
Our Neighbor staff and volunteers aren’t just showing up, they are stepping up! We have established systems to keep staff and volunteers safely distanced and equipped with personal protective equipment, and we know that their risk of exposure increases simply by being outside of their homes. We don’t take this lightly. We never require anyone to jeopardize their health or well-being during this time. Yet, every single day, Neighbor volunteer shifts are full of dedicated individuals ready to pack, sort and load delivery vehicles, and Neighbor staff are the rock of this work – steady, strong and showing up for their neighbors in need.
Every Friday, a gentleman stops by Arch Street Teen Center on his daily walk. He thanks our staff and volunteers, shares his support, and extends an envelope with his weekly donation. We know only his first name and he’s asked for nothing other than a promise to continue our good work. In June, the kindness of the Jacobsen sisters, Inaaya, Aleena, Zeeyah and Amaara, was on full display when their desire to help inspired them to initiate a food drive with Whitby School, raising over 1,600 pounds of produce! These acts of selflessness are representative of all of the donors that have supported us during this time. So many donations are accompanied by heartfelt notes and words of encouragement. We can’t thank you enough for not only supporting us, but lifting our spirits with such kind words and gestures that keep us motivated each and every day.
It's been a long road since March and the journey is far from over. We are committed to facing the grave challenges ahead. The record number of unemployed and underemployed, those working but barely able to make ends meet, and families facing financial crisis for the first time -- all need Neighbor to Neighbor to help feed their families and maintain a basic quality of life that assures their dignity and respect. Your support is one of the most effective ways to ensure our community remains strong and able to move ahead together!