It’s October, one of my favorite months, and things are beginning to feel somewhat normal as we head into the last quarter of 2020. Businesses are mostly reopened in Maricopa county and people have started getting out and about more.
For us at Rebuilding Together Valley of the Sun, this means we are getting calls for volunteer group activities and requests for service are on the rise as well. Last weekend, we were thrilled to host our first volunteer project in months. A group from The Thunderbirds, who are longtime supporters, showed up to lend a hand for clients in need. We built three wheelchair ramps, at three different homes, with groups of 10 or fewer volunteers. And we all wore masks. Nevertheless, completing such a normal activity was wonderful.
And there will be more of these normal activities coming up, as our Safe at Home volunteers begin providing in-home services once more. And with this, it would be easy to resume business as usual, but we cannot.
Part of me wants to go full steam ahead, trying to help as many clients in as short a time possible. After all, many of these people who need help have been on a wait list since late December of 2019. Unfortunately, we have to keep our response in check. I keep telling myself to take baby steps. Yes, the spread of coronavirus in Arizona seems to be slowing, but it is far from gone. As a matter of fact, it will probably never be gone. This is something we will all have to face as we learn to navigate new health protocols to keep people safe, especially the seniors we serve.
So, baby steps. Last week we had small groups of volunteers helping three of their neighbors in need. Next week, volunteers will resume installing home modifications like grab bars and handheld shower heads. They won’t be able to visit with the clients, and they will be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment while at the client’s home. This will be different for them, but they are willing to do what is needed to get back to doing what we do best – helping people stay safe in their homes.
Until it is safe to do otherwise, we will continue moving forward with baby steps. Individual volunteer and small group activities now, hopefully larger group activities by the end of the year. Meanwhile, we are planning for the day when we can host huge groups of volunteers again, and our volunteers can safely receive a hug from a grateful client.
Happy Fall ya’ll. Let’s hope the season is the beginning of a safer, healthier world for us all.