COVID-19 has affected the number of volunteers, hours of operation, food distribution hours, and other programs at the Northeastern Conference Adventist Community Services Center. As a result of school closings in New York City (NYC), the Queens Center for Progress was closed, reducing the number of volunteers. These volunteers were instrumental in carrying out the daily activities at the center. Their volunteer Spanish translator from the same agency had to suspend classes as well. However, volunteers from the community came to assist with food distribution and other activities.
They changed the food distribution style to grab-and-go, prepacked grocery bags, and the hours of operation went from four days to two days. However, in order to accommodate only 10 people at a time, they extended the food distribution hours.
Safety measures are in place at the center—all volunteers are given gloves, hand sanitizer, and N95 masks. They also share and inform the volunteers of current health information and guidelines from the Food Bank for NYC and NYC mayor’s office. They are actively practicing physical distancing, hand washing, and each client is asked to use hand sanitizer, which is placed throughout the facility.
Churches can help the center with their prayers, monetary contributions, or in-kind donations for the following items: hand sanitizer, gloves, masks (N95), cleaning supplies, and fresh produce.
The Center has canceled the 10-week ESOL course for Spring 2020 and rescheduled it for Fall 2020. All other programs and events at the center have been postponed until May 2020, subject to further notice from government agencies.
—Keicha Gosling, executive director, Northeastern Conference Adventist Community Services Center