As the public continues to adjust to life amid the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners is implementing new ways to continue serving individuals and families in need.
“The safety of our community is our priority,” said LaDonna Hoy, founder and executive director for the Plymouth-based nonprofit.
To better protect the health of the organization’s clients, staff members and volunteers, Interfaith Outreach has shifted its operations to an essential services model to continue offering food and emergency financial assistance while being able to allow new clients.
“We are doing what we do in terms of service delivery, just differently,” Hoy said.
The intention is to minimize contact between people and decrease opportunities for exposure while continuing to meet the needs of those in the organization’s service area of Long Lake, Orono, Minnetonka Beach, Hamel, Medicine Lake, Medina, Plymouth and Wayzata.
Leaders with the organization note that this is how Interfaith Outreach is currently operating and that it could change depending on statewide orders from the governor.
The nonprofit’s food shelf has continued to operate through a drive-up only model in which clients remain in their car and staff members will bring them pre-packaged bags of groceries. Clients who arrive on foot or through another form of transportation will also be served in a similar matter outside the building.
The nonprofit has also closed the rest of its Plymouth headquarters to guests and has eliminated walk-in hours.
Staff members will also work remotely and will help those in need of emergency financial assistance connect with case managers via phone and email. For those who are need of help and are unsure of who to contact at Interfaith Outreach, email email@example.com or call 763-489-7500.
Interfaith Outreach has also shifted away from using volunteers – a change leaders with the organization said will help bring weekly building guests down from more than 500 staff members and volunteers to a limited staff of fewer than 30 people while still following social distancing guidelines and not allowing gatherings of 10 or more people.
For those interested in helping Interfaith Outreach serve their clients through the food shelf, donations of food and household goods are still being accepted. People interested in donating items are asked to call ahead to 763-489-7500 to make sure there will be staff members on-site to receive donations. Most needed items for the food shelf include canned fruit, peanut butter, jelly, rice, canned chicken or tuna, kid-friendly snacks, toilet paper and paper bags.
The nonprofit is not currently accepting donations of furniture, clothing or other items for its Resale Select store.
Leaders at the nonprofit say the best way to help is through financial donations, which support the organization’s ability to respond to emergency needs for food and financial assistance most flexibly while reducing the number of hands that touch the food and goods before they’re distributed.
“People in the community have been calling eager to find the best way to be helpful. Right now, that’s it,” Hoy said, adding that for every $50 the nonprofit receives, it is able to provide food for 236 meals through sourcing from food bank partners.
For more information on how Interfaith Outreach is continuing to provide services and how the public can help, visit iocp.org/covid-19-response or call 763-489-7500. To make a financial donation, visit iocp.org/give or call 763-489-7512.
“We always want to let the community know how terribly grateful we are for their support,” Hoy said. “It’s been outstanding. … We’re all living in a new abnormal and trying to do our best with it and as usual, no surprise to us, this amazing community is there saying, ‘What we can do and how can we help?’”