https://www.glwd.org/blog/responding-to-the-coronavirus-recognizing-a-most-difficult-year/

3.15.21 / Clients

Responding to the Coronavirus: Recognizing a Most Difficult Year

Dear Community,

New York City, the country, and the world have been in a state of crisis for a full year now, as we have endured the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As an Essential Services Provider, God’s Love has worked tirelessly to be there for our clients, volunteers, and community, while all of us have been affected in different personal ways.

God’s Love is no stranger to crisis — we were founded in 1985 at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. When HIV/AIDS was transforming life in the City, we learned quickly how to care for those who are isolated and alone, too sick to shop or cook for themselves. Now, in this new pandemic, we have drawn from this legacy to respond to COVID-19.

Virtually overnight, we shifted operations and menus, created and adapted new protocols for volunteers and delivery, instituted social distancing, mask-wearing and new sanitation routines, and managed thousands of calls from concerned clients, community members and vulnerable people seeking our help. In just a few months, we welcomed thousands of new clients and their families onto the God’s Love program.

"People who were just one crisis away from malnutrition and hunger turned to God's Love because they needed good nutrition to survive the pandemic."

In 2020, the number of people in New York who needed us grew at an unprecedented rate. Last March and April, with senior centers across the City shuttered, home health aide hours stretched to the limit or aides no longer available for clients, and family members and neighbors unable to bring food to their loved ones, we experienced an enormous spike in demand for our home-delivered medically tailored meals. People who were just one crisis away from malnutrition and hunger turned to God’s Love because they needed good nutrition to survive the pandemic.

Thanks to the deep commitment and love shown by our volunteers, staff, and community, we stepped up to meet this growing demand. Your dedication and resilience were never stronger. Thank you for everything you did and continue to do to keep God’s Love fully operational during these difficult days.

Here are some ways we have responded to COVID-19 in the last year:

  • We continued operations without disruption
  • All non-essential staff transitioned to working remotely
  • In the early days of the pandemic, we cooked and delivered extra high-protein soups for clients to keep in their freezers
  • We delivered 310,000 shelf-stable meals
  • We drove 233,000+ miles to deliver medically tailored meals
  • We managed 21,000 phone calls from clients
  • We are now cooking and home-delivering more than 10,000 meals each weekday
  • We welcomed more than 5,600 individuals to our program
  • We delivered 5,000 personal care kits which included toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand soap, body wash and deodorant
  • We instituted no-contact delivery protocols and added health screenings for staff and volunteers and mask wearing for everyone on site to keep clients, staff, and volunteers safe
  • We reduced the number of volunteers to meet social distancing requirements, all while increasing our daily meal production

While we made so many changes to our program and processes, so much stayed the same. We baked, personalized, and delivered birthday cakes. We welcomed clients on to program and added their homes to our drivers’ routes. Our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists worked with clients to modify their menus as their medical situations, medications or preferences changed. We quickly learned how to run successful virtual events, and we continued to welcome new volunteers each day. We did all of this while recognizing our 35th anniversary.

From the first meal we delivered in 1985 until today, we have been driven by the belief that no one should face the dual crises of illness and hunger. We believe food is medicine and that it dramatically improves the quality of life for someone living with serious or chronic illness. In 2020 this truth became even more widely apparent.

Our clients’ health is always our highest priority. We have been honored to be a source of calm and strength in this year of uncertainty.

Clients continue to share how relieved they are when we deliver:

“Once again, thank you so much for all that you do. It has made my life so much better. You deliver food and much-needed hope, especially in these times.”

“I am just calling to say thank you. I received my [shelf-stable delivery] today and it is awesome. Thank you, thank you. I appreciate everything. God’s Love, all of you guys…thank you.”

“Thank you so much for the birthday cake. This year was the first year I celebrated my birthday by myself because of COVID-19. It meant a lot.”

“You can tell from your first bite that every meal is made from scratch and made with love. I can taste the difference. I can feel the difference. I know I’m getting nutrients and it helps me manage my illness and all that I’m going through.”

Hear from Our Clients

At the outset of the pandemic, we asked many longtime friends and many new friends for help. Our community’s profound outpouring of support for our most vulnerable neighbors proves that, together, we are more resilient than ever.

When we have been so scared, so too have our clients. It is truly moving to see our community rally to serve those that need us most during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We commit to caring for our clients throughout this pandemic and beyond. We know too well that even as the number of new coronavirus cases drops and we start to receive our vaccines, the scars of this time will continue to deeply affect our City and our clients. Our clients will continue to need the medically tailored meals that only God’s Love provides. I know that I can count on you as we take on more and more clients in the coming months and years. I am grateful to you for your profound caring and support.

Being sick and hungry is a crisis that demands an urgent response. And thanks to you, we can respond without fail, and always with love.

All my best,

Karen

Related Blog Posts

+ View All Community Posts

3.24.21 / Community

Making Points Count with The Points Guy

Recently, I was invited by Clint Henderson, God’s Love volunteer and Senior News Editor at The Points Guy (TPG), to present during one of their monthly sessions called TPG: Charity Chats, an opportunity for TPG employees to l…

3.15.21 / Clients

Celebrating Women’s History Month at God’s Love

March is Women’s History Month.  We at God’s Love are grateful to all the women we have been honored to work with, learn from and grow with; each one having made a profound impact on our life-affirming work. Across department…