While over the past three months we’ve been under “stay the blazes home” orders in Nova Scotia, we are now moving towards slowly re-opening our communities and economy. During this global pandemic, the Sunday Suppers has continued to run, albeit in a modified “Take Away” format, as it’s been deemed an essential service by the Nova Scotia Department of Public Health and Wellness. The recipients of the suppers are some of the most marginalized people in our community, and the current conditions have made access to crucial supports very difficult, or unavailable.
Volunteers from the Halifax Chapter of HOPE worldwide Canada and from the Halifax-Dartmouth Church of Christ were able to recently adapt to new health and safety protocols and continue to find a way to serve. On June 28th, volunteers served over 160 cooked meals and an abundant supply of fresh fruit for the community. In addition, these volunteers provided much needed donations of toilet paper, toothpaste, and toothbrushes, and handmade non-medical face masks.
What did we do differently this time? Instead of gathering together as a group to prepare the pans, each volunteer picked up the supplies at one location in a take-away format from a safe distance. Once prepared and cooked, meals were dropped off safely to the Sunday Supper location, where a scaled down group of volunteers distributed the meals and supplies to our community friends in the take-away mode from a safe distance for all involved.
We are so grateful for one of our volunteers, Melva Wolfe, who since the Coronavirus Pandemic began, has been sewing dozens of non-medical face masks for the community and donated several for our guests at the Sunday Suppers.
Being able to continue to serve our community during the pandemic, when many other resources and locations that have previously served our community have been forced to close their doors, has had an impact on our guests. Here is what a few of them shared with the volunteers from HOPE worldwide Canada when asked about what having the Sunday Suppers remain open meant to them:
- “Some of the other services are only open during the week. You being open and being here on Sunday helps me get through.”
- “It means not starving. You guys are awesome.”
- “What you do here helps me immensely”
- “Many services are not open, whatever you give me, I’m really appreciative, this helps me get through.”
We are so grateful for our volunteers and supporters, who were flexible and able to adapt to the modified service delivery format to continue to serve and meet needs in our community!
What can we “take away” from this experience?
- During these times, needs in our community are still there and still need to be met
- The incredible serving hearts and flexibility of our volunteers allowed us to adapt to this modified format to continue to serve and meet needs in our community!