In mid-March 2020, many of our volunteers were no longer able to continue their service with us due to the Shelter-in-Place order. The loss of our volunteers affected each of our programs, especially Dorothy’s Kitchen Program and Dorothy’s Drop-In Center. It has been up to staff to fill in the gaps left by our esteemed and highly valued “essential” volunteers.
The loss of our volunteers has stretched the team at Dorothy’s Place and also presented an opportunity to improvise and continue our services, never missing a day of service. In the beginning, we received COVID-relief funding from Community Foundation for Monterey County to hire people that had been laid off of other jobs to fill in for our volunteers. That gave us time to adjust, but eventually, we had to figure out new and innovative ways to continue our service to the unsheltered.
Tasks in the Drop-In Center that had been done by our volunteers, such as greeting our guests, assisting with mail, clothing, showers, and laundry, are now offered by our limited staff.
The Dorothy’s Kitchen Program has continued to provide over 300 meals each day. We provide nutritious meals, though in the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak locally, we were only able to offer fruit, a sandwich, and a beverage. We often don’t have the number of hands necessary to prepare meals that require washing, chopping, cooking, and the people to help with serving.
Our community volunteers are greatly missed! As the days have become months, and now, a year, the necessary COVID safety measures are firmly in place and routine. We are looking for volunteers who are able to safely join us again as we serve the poor in Salinas.