As we inch into June, we wanted to update you on what is happening within our leadership group.
The shelter remains open until further notice. We will allow the shelter to be a safe haven for as long as necessary according to the City’s safety guidelines. The Giving Tuesday fundraising was a huge success, raising over $13,000 for the shelter. Funds have been used to purchase food items when supplies have run short and are going to continuously be used for the extra costs associated with the building upkeep and utilities. If anyone is looking to donate items by knock-and-go or mail-in method, you can send dry breakfast items such as pop tarts, cereal, oatmeal, snack bars, and also fresh items like bacon, eggs, bread, and sausage. The supervisor and guests seem to be doing well with lunch and dinner but continually struggle with breakfast.
The Saturday Cupboard remains shuttered during the quarantine. For the remainder of the shelter extension, we will likely not have the Cupboard open. If the City and CDC restrictions and guidelines change, we will discuss limited service. These times are new and changing frequently and at this time there is no way to know when we will be able to responsibly resume our service. Our Saturday volunteers remain committed and are in regular contact with me for ways they can help. Several have been donating catered meals or supplies for the shelter.
The Old First Urban Service Camp program will not be functioning on site at Old First this summer. We had four groups scheduled from Erie, Ohio, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. When contacted, the groups shared our concerns for the current situation in Philadelphia and we agreed it was best to cancel their trips for 2020. The Service Camp program brings people to Philadelphia that might not otherwise come to our community and they add so much to the Old First community. The loss of all the visitors is another loss along with the congregation not meeting together.
My employment contract was extended from May 31 until July 31 to allow time for COVID-19 restrictions to be relaxed and to make the hiring process easier. Currently, Outreach is working through the applicants and scheduling calls with those individuals we would like to interview. The chosen candidate will start approximately July 15th to allow for training time before I leave the position. I will still be around Old First as a member. I am starting an internship for the final year of my MSW at the LGBT Elder Initiative in late August and am very excited to transition into learning new skills and networking within the Philadelphia community in a new way.