Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul cares deeply for the people it serves and its staff, volunteers, board, and community partners. As we face this unprecedented and rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic, we remain focused on our mission to provide vital services to those most in need in our community. Our priority is to make sure our support remains constant and safe, especially for those who depend upon our food shelf and our shelters.
We are committed, as ever, to providing services in environments that keep our participants, volunteers, and staff healthy and safe. We continue to follow the guidance of the MN Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We are in frequent communication with other service providers, elected officials and community partners to make thoughtful, informed decisions.
To address the coronavirus situation, Interfaith Action staff have intensified cleaning practices on high-touch services at all of our sites and in all of our activities. We are also taking extra precautions to minimize the spread of any germs and practicing “social distancing” to reduce the spread of the virus.
In light of the coronavirus outbreak, beginning Monday, March 16, we are making the following changes to our programs to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially to our senior participants and those with underlying health conditions, who are most at risk:
- Out of respect for the concerns of local faith communities and in response to the steep decline in available volunteers, on or before Monday, March 23, our current two overnight shelter locations will move to our Project Home Day Center site, where families will shelter in place for the next few weeks.
- Our Day Center has put in place new strict cleaning and sanitation practices to ensure the safety of our guests and staff.
- Project Home will be hiring both permanent and temporary staff. If you are interested, please check our jobs page.
Department of Indian Work:
- Our food shelf is open by appointment only, and starting Wednesday, March 18, will serve clients only through a new protocol: Clients will be asked to drive up and stay in the car. Staff will place a pre-packed box of food in the trunk of a car to ensure no personal contact. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 651-789-3856.
- We are not accepting any food donations until further notice.
- The clothing closet will be closed until further notice and we will not accept any clothing donations.
- We are asking volunteers to not come in.
- American Indian Youth Enrichment after-school program will be closed in accordance with Saint Paul Public Schools closure.
Opportunity Saint Paul
- The March 19 learning community event is canceled but we will tape the two presenters and provide links once the videos are posted.
- Most volunteer opportunities are being suspended, in accordance with the closure of our schools and other community partners.
Community Power-Up & Power-Up Legal Clinic
- Educational evenings are suspended until further notice.
- Our legal clinic is continuing to serve clients until further notice.
Interfaith Action Offices, Staff & Board Activities
- All small and large group activities at Interfaith Action will be cancelled through at least April 17.
- Work from home options are being implemented department by department.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT OUR WORK:
- Donate: For safety reasons, our food shelf is not able to accept food donations, so financial contributions are vital. More than 700 families depend upon our food shelf. In addition, we will incur significant additional costs with the hiring of personnel in our shelters to replace the thousands of volunteer hours lost during this pandemic. Contribute here.
- Volunteer: With the changes, we cannot have on-site volunteer teams cook weekend meals as we typically do, but we do need volunteers to provide a purchased meal (sandwiches from Jimmy John’s, pizza, etc.). If you can help, contact Wade Piper.
Thank you for your compassion and your willingness to help us support the many families who depend on Interfaith Action.
Pastor David Colby of Central Presbyterian Church was recently invited to offer the opening prayer for the Minnesota House of Representatives today. We find inspiration in the words that he offered there:
“Holy and gracious God, we appreciate a moment to collect our thoughts and gird up our faith and seek peace. In an anxious time, we ask for a full measure of wisdom. With frayed nerves and busy days, may we be gentle with one another. Keep our hearts pure and our motives guided by what is best for the common good. Help us to ask the questions that are right for this day, be effective with our time and energy, and focused on what matters. We pray not only for ourselves but for all. We pray for those who are sick, may healing abound. May those who are isolated encounter compassion and new forms of community. May love be shared. And may we all be brave and generous. Amen.”