At Angels and Sparrows, we strive to be good stewards of the resources given to us and the most precious of those includes YOU, the community. You consistently support us with your time and donations and most recently, this has been amidst the COVID-19 crisis. We appreciate the outpouring of support and donations you have provided to us and it has been absolutely needed!
We recognize and appreciate these donations come at a cost to your family in order to support other families in need, so we want to keep you informed about our continued operations in light of the Stay at Home Order issued by Mecklenburg County yesterday. As our guests will attest, we are considered an Essential Business and, therefore, are permitted to continue operations. In fact, our services will be needed now more than ever. This means travel to and from our establishment to drop-off donations is permitted as well.
There were significant changes to our culture and operations last week as we adapted to the need for social distancing and we learned a lot through this process. One thing we noticed is a tremendous increase in the need for our services. In fact, we experienced a 42% increase in the number of meals provided in just one week! Our peak day was an 86% increase. Many guests who only visit occasionally, showed up each day seeking help. Several conveyed they were scrambling to provide for their families while grappling with fewer hours at work or facing complete layoffs.
Meanwhile, donations from our grocery partners diminished. In response, we quickly emptied many of our pantry items typically reserved for meal preparation to alleviate some of the stress our guests were experiencing. Your generous donations were also used immediately as emergency grocery items for our guests or in our kitchen to meet the increased demand for meals.
While this crisis continues to be distressing for everyone, we expect our community will continue to experience the after-effects of COVID-19 for a long time and have re-strategized how we will continue providing meals with limited resources and increased demand.
Angels and Sparrows intends to remain the valuable resource we have always been in the community. We recognize we will simply have to show we care by using other methods. A new approach we have already implemented is making phone calls to our guests to check on their wellbeing and ascertain special needs. This has been well received and many have acknowledged feeling lonely, isolated, and missing the spirit of community usually experienced together at Angels and Sparrows. We won’t allow our culture to diminish during this crisis and we expect programs and partnerships will emerge and evolve as we continue to address the needs of our community.
Please continue to bring your donations to the kitchen. Hours for food donation drop-off next week will be Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30. We ask that you please honor these hours so we can move guest vehicles in and out of the parking lot safely during service hours. Monetary donations are greatly appreciated because they allow us to fill in the gaps in needs versus supplies. We will keep our website and social media updated as our needs change with the increased demand.
You remain a vital part of our mission and we appreciate your continued support of Angels and Sparrows. Please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions or concerns.
Jessika Tucker Executive Director Angels and Sparrows Soup Kitchen