COMMUNICATION TO MEMBERS, VOLUNTEERS & FRIENDS OF OSHARE
Dear Friends, Volunteers and Members of OSHaRE:
As OSHaRE approaches the four-month mark of its operations under COVID-19 pandemic measures, it is important for us to keep you informed of what we are doing, how we are doing it and what our plans are for the immediate future.
Like all of you, OSHaRE has been challenged by the pandemic. What we were doing – feeding hungry people – had to continue. How we did it, had to change. So that’s what we did in the middle of March; we switched to a complete take-out style provision of lunch and supper (the lunch meal was a service previously provided by Safe ‘n Sound, suspended due to the pandemic). We also took on the provision of meals to some of those folks who are living in emergency housing provided by Grey County, with delivery being done by partners from Habitat for Humanity.
We have learned many lessons since the middle of March. The first lesson is the importance of our staff and the many volunteers who make things work. Even though we were compelled for health and safety reasons to reduce the number of volunteers in our pool of helpers, we have been gifted with a core group of dedicated workers. The value of this commitment is incalculable and has allowed us to sustain a pace of meal services that is incredible. Colleen Trask-Seaman, Executive Director of OSHaRE reported at the Annual General Meeting that, “We have seen a 300% increase to the number of meals served to our community”. Since the beginning of March we have served over 36,000 meals (in all of 2019, we served 22,500 meals). Our Food Rescue efforts have saved in excess of 16 tons of food for our use since the start of 2020.
The second lesson is something we’ve known since opening OSHaRE in 2013: it’s all about community taking care of community. Our guests have grown in number since the pandemic started, and community support has kept pace with that growth in need. We are deeply grateful to the many individuals, businesses, churches, service organizations and levels of government who have provided steady, generous support to OSHaRE. We could not do it without you.
The third lesson is the blessing our new building is. The Kiwanis Kitchen, the walk-in fridge and freezer, the storage space and the open, ground level dining area – all of our purpose-built facility is one of the reasons we are able to do what we do, under conditions none of us would ever have imagined.
With the expectation that pandemic measures will remain in place well into 2021, we are constantly evaluating various aspects of our operation to make them as efficient as possible. To that end, the Board of Directors will be conducting a review of operations before the end of 2020.
But, we’re not waiting until then to make the adjustments necessary to keep things running smoothly. Effective July 13th, we adjusted the duration of meal times: take out lunch is provided beginning at 11:30 am until 1 pm. Our take out supper meal commences at 4:30 pm and ends at 6 pm.
We are also planning changes to how we will serve our guests as the seasons of fall and winter approach. We are developing a walk-through style of serving take-out meals and beverages that we hope to have in place early in September. Stay tuned for more details on this.
To all our faithful volunteers, we will be establishing a new “morning crew” shift of kitchen-competent volunteers to help with preparation and assembly of the lunch meal. This additional shift will complement our existing “COVID” volunteer schedule shown below.
|OSHaRE VOLUNTEER SHIFTS ~ DURING COVID-19|
|Office Admin||1 person||10 am to 12 pm||Reception, scheduling, receiving.||Monday – Friday|
|Morning Crew*||2 persons||9 am to 11 am (as arranged)||Food prep, packing of meals.||Monday – Friday|
|Lunch Shift||1 -2 persons||11 am to 1 pm||Packing/plating meals, preps for subsequent meals, clean up.||Monday – Saturday|
|Food Prep||1 person||1 pm to 3 pm||Salads and vegetable prep.||Monday – Friday|
|Supper Shift||3 persons||4 pm to 6 pm||Packing/plating meals, preps for subsequent meals, clean up.||Monday – Friday|
|Food Rescue||1 – 2 persons||11 am to 1 pm||Receiving, sorting, storing||On days required?|
* to commence in September 2020.
We extend our deepest gratitude to each and every one of you for your faithful support of OSHaRE. It gives us courage and good heart to know that you continue to keep us in mind for your generous financial gifts, food donations and volunteer time.
Because of you, what we have, we will share.
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