By: Skye Heeren, Development Director at the Hub on Smith
Normally during this time of year, the team at the Hub on Smith is getting ready for our annual Keystone Awards, the Hub’s primary fundraiser and event honoring those who have contributed to our community. All of that has been put on hold this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hub was one of the first organizations in Sheridan to close its facilities and implement a plan that would limit contact and possible exposure of the virus to a precious segment of our community – our seniors. That decision was not an easy one, but one that Executive Director Carmen Rideout and the Board of Directors made swiftly. Staff and volunteers alike all stepped up to support the plan and answer the question on everyone’s mind – WHAT’S NEXT AND HOW CAN I HELP? Well, here’s what we’ve been doing during our facility closure.
- All available staff began an intensive cleaning and sanitization program throughout the entire building.
- Our meals team, under the direction of Chef Dan Cole and Home Delivered Meals Coordinator Holli Webber immediately put a plan in place to deliver meals to people who normally come into the Hub for daily meals. Staff who normally work in other parts of the organization mobilized to help package and deliver meals. We are delivering approximately 300+ meals during the week, which requires additional “to go” supplies, insulated delivery bags, and post-delivery sanitation. Additionally, we’ve had requests from the VA to deliver upwards of 100 meals daily for their campus, and we are also adding 75+ meals for the Lunch Together folks who are homeless or may be food insecure.
- The Support Center, Day Break, and Help at Home staff immediately reached out to people that utilize the Hub’s services to find out how they were doing, what they need in their homes, and to provide an avenue of communication in case they need it. The Support Center is also collaborating and working with numerous community organizations to support other efforts to serve the most vulnerable in our community. Together we can build a network of support for our residents, especially those who are most in need during this time.
- Goose Creek Transit bus drivers switched over to delivering meals. Director Steve Ainslie and his staff reached out to the hospital and local grocery stores to see what services Goose Creek Transit may be able to provide to seniors needing to visit these facilities.
Of course this is all happening when there isn’t money coming in daily with our doors locked. At this time, we are relying more than ever on the generosity of our friends and neighbors, as well as our community partners (foundations and businesses) – so we certainly thank them for their ongoing support of our programs! We couldn’t do it without them.
Our top priorities at this time are:
- Food – Making sure that the nutritional needs of our community’s most vulnerable folks, our seniors, are met. This involves shifting as many people as we can to our Home Delivered Meals program, which is still providing lunch 7 days a week.
- Social Connection – Making sure that seniors do not feel isolated as much as is possible. Because social connection is such an important part of people’s health and well-being, our team is calling clients regularly to check in. Support and caregiver groups who previously met ‘in-house’ are now meeting via Zoom. We’re also working to try to coordinate some regular exercise, art, music, and other activities to stream on Facebook Live for our seniors to tune into and participate in from their homes.
- Supplies – We have become the ‘supply site’ for the COVID-19 taskforce in the community – seniors who need toilet paper, soap, personal hygiene products, or cleaning supplies may request those items and they will be delivered by the Home Delivered Meals drivers. Donations are being accepted for these items between 8 am – 4 pm on the north side of the Hub building (211 Smith Street).
Our social media accounts and website provide up-to-date information about our services. Please check these sources regularly– www.thehubsheridan.org (website), or Facebook/ Instagram – search “the Hub on Smith.” Financial donations are also being accepted on the website or through Facebook.
If you or someone you know needs assistance from the Hub, please contact the Support Center at (307) 461-7134 or email [email protected].
In closing, I can not say enough praise about this organization– its leaders, Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, and the generous support from the community to help the Hub take care of older adults. I’ve heard so many stories about the impact the Hub is making on the lives of those affected by the COVID-19 situation. We live in the best community, no doubt about it. Thanks to everyone pulling together to make a difference. We will all get through this as a stronger community.