A message from our CEO, Tracy Maki
Hello friends of Valley Outreach,
Let me start this update by saying, we miss YOU and all the hustle and bustle that is a typical day at Valley Outreach. We also know things right now are anything but typical. Our building is closed to the public and we’re not accepting donations of food or clothing. Despite that, we are hard at work serving everyone who comes to us in need of food and providing phone support to those who need additional services.
Since March 17, we’ve been helping people through a temporary drive-up service model with a very limited number of people on-site (fewer than 10) per shift to comply with social distancing guidelines. We’re doing this for the safety of the entire community and especially our clients, volunteers, donors and staff. For the time being, we’ll continue to remain closed to the public and follow this temporary service model. Once the Minnesota Stay at Home order is lifted, we’ll make decisions about when and how to open to the public. If the order is extended, we will simply continue with this model.
Now that we’ve had time to work through the logistics of our temporary model, we’re happy to share that we’re ready to open a limited number of volunteer opportunities. We have a streamlined sign-up available on our website where you can select a shift that works for you and schedule yourself. This isn’t business as usual and we do have some additional requirements for the safety and well-being of all.
Our volunteers must:
- Be 16 years of age or older.
- Be under 65 years of age per the extra precautions recommended by the CDC due to higher risks associated with COVID-19 in older adults.
- Be able to safely lift 20 pounds and stand for up to 3 hours.
- Sign up for available volunteer slots every other week. We want to ensure volunteers have a week of time in between shifts to monitor their health. You may volunteer multiple times in the same week, however, consecutive weeks of volunteering are not allowed right now.
- Follow Valley Outreach’s safety protocol for staff and volunteers which is based on CDC and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines.
Our volunteers must not:
- Come to Valley Outreach after being exposed to anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test for COVID-19 or influenza A and B within 14 days prior to their shift.
- Travel within the 14 days prior to their shift.
- Have a serious underlying medical condition that requires extra precautions according to the CDC that would put them at higher risk of complications if they contract COVID-19.
We will also do a brief screening with each volunteer at the beginning of their shift. We are asking volunteers to bring their own cloth face mask (if volunteers don’t have one, we’ll provide one.)
If you are interested in signing up and are new to volunteering at Valley Outreach, please fill out our brief online application.
We’ve been able to thoughtfully respond to challenges and continue to be a stable, welcoming place for people who need help thanks to your generosity and support. As I’ve said many times, we are incredibly grateful to be part of this community.
Take good care,
Tracy Maki, CEO