Last week presented many challenges and hardships for our friends and neighbors. I don’t think anyone could have anticipated the breadth of those challenges. Nevertheless, I am proud of how the staff and leadership of this organization prepared for and responded to the weather that hit us hard last week. It started on Friday, February 12th. The managers for our seven group homes met to devise a strategy to ensure we had coverage in our homes should driving conditions deteriorate significantly on the anticipated date of the storm. Monday’s staff members were offered the option to sleep at the group home on Sunday (with pay), so they would be at work for their Monday shift. Sunday’s staff members were offered the option to stay (with pay) until they were comfortable traveling. The plan was executed.
What we didn’t anticipate were the power outages that would create havoc for so many people. Starting Monday and remaining throughout the week, our Program Coordinators stayed in contact with families and foster providers in the community, assisting those who had to find alternate locations. One of the Program Coordinators was concerned about a member who lived alone and was diabetic. When he discovered that the member was without power, he drove to his apartment and took him back to his home. That is caring with a capital C.
Unfortunately, we lost power in one of the group homes and power and water in another. We are so fortunate that our main building maintained power throughout the week. We were able to relocate the group home residents to our main building, where they had comfortable accommodations with staff providing care. We maintain emergency kits with food and supplies in the homes, so the transition to the main building was quick and easy. The staff took turns spending the night. They were remarkable, so flexible, and willing to do whatever was needed. One staff member and her family, including a member with a disability, were displaced, so they also stayed at the main building and were enormously helpful with the residents.
Despite a few plumbing issues, everyone was able to return home on Saturday. We have reopened the training center.
I am so grateful for the response by the staff during the week. Each challenge was met with a “Can do” attitude and a focus on our members’ wellbeing.
All things considered, we came out of this challenging week in good shape. Unfortunately, other outstanding non-profits did not fare as well and suffered considerable damage to facilities. Many of our non-profit friends have a long road ahead to recover and become operational. Please reach out to those fine organizations and support them in any way you can.