“Notes from the Front Lines”- A Message from Jaime Parker, Manager of Programs and Services

Dear TASK Family and Friends:

One of the toughest things about this pandemic has been the absence of being able to really have the in-depth interactions with patrons that we used to have – sharing conversations with folks over meals, tutoring sessions, meetings, classes, etc.  I mean, we feel honored that we are able to continue offering meal service and distribute emergency items, and we do so with smiles under our masks. The kitchen crew makes those meals with love, Gina and Justin greet patrons with warmth, and Charlie and Evie distribute emergency items like hygiene kits, socks, masks, newspapers, etc. with joy.  But not having patrons in the building is hard.

I miss Ernest playing Herbie Hancock tunes on the keyboard on Music Mondays, I miss popping into the ATEAM meetings on Tuesdays and hearing Shorty’s bass-ey voice sing, “Hello Jaime Fox”, I miss Bob the tutor walking ESL students around the building and engaging in conversational English.  I miss Pervis asking me if I can hold onto his notebook and promising to remember to pick it up tomorrow.  I miss stocking the bookshelves with children’s books and watching kids run to grab a few to read after they’ve finished dinner.

The onsite programs we’ve had to suspend feels like a bag full of confetti.  A million glimmering little moments, interactions, and gifts that collect to fill up a sack. Their absence feels heavy.

But we aren’t sitting idly by, hoping for better days.  In addition to providing daily meals, we are connecting people with resources and providing essential items that no other organizations can offer at this time. We are calling our program participants that have working phones.  We are checking in and finding safe ways for us to get back to working with them.  Our Case Managers are working from home to connect patrons to resources to get them stable.  Our Job Search Specialist is connecting job-seekers to fields that have grown during this upside-down time. Our Adult Education staff is building a blended-learning model and working with students to enhance their tech-savviness so they can learn from a distance.  We are collecting poems and artwork about quarantine for our next literary magazine; and we are in the process of building a safety net to ensure that our patrons without working phones do not fall through the cracks.

These drastic changes to our way of life have shown us that we’ve got a lot of grit.   Maybe the confetti we are making now will look a little different, but we are going to make some more confetti, nonetheless. Thank you for being a part of it.

Sincerely,

Jaime Parker
Manager of Programs and Services

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