TRINITY GRACE CHURCH - WESTSIDE
COVID-19 - Emergency Volunteer Cooking Opportunity
* * ADDITIONAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS ADDENDUM * *
Please see below (3/27/20)
Dear TGC Family,
As we navigate the changes in our city to address the spread & prevention of the coronavirus, Crossroads Community Services could use your help to feed those who are most in need of regular, reliable meals.
As part of its myriad of service programs, Crossroads provides a free dinner service, five nights a week, for approximately 350-400 homeless and underprivileged people in midtown. Usually, the food provided for this dinner service is "rescued" food — donated daily from local hotels, corporate kitchens & cafeterias, area restaurants, etc. But now with the implementation of the state's new stay-at-home order, our prepared-food resources have disappeared.
Effective immediately, the Crossroads Kitchen will step up to assume the added responsibility of cooking fresh meals in order to maintain the dinner program.
Below are some preliminary details on this volunteer opportunity.
Crossroads is authorized to continue operations during the stay-at-home order per Governor Cuomo's Executive Order, in which “human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in state-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care, protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in state-licensed residential facilities; those operating community shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support” are considered essential services to the State, and therefore the City.
Crossroads Dinner Cooking Team
Mondays, Wednesday & Fridays, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Help to advance-prep a fresh dinner for approximately 350-400 people in a large professional kitchen. Dinner will be prepared in advance from 9-11 a.m., and served in the evening by staff members of the Coalition for the Homeless. On-site training will be provided. Activities will be limited to cooking in a sanitary, contained kitchen with no more than 4 or 5 other volunteer chefs.
There will be no direct interaction with or exposure to the community, and you'll be working in a very small group to maintain proper social distancing.
You'll work with a great team, performing a variety of tasks in a busy kitchen. No formal kitchen experience? No problem! You’ll be assigned a job based on your comfort level and experience. Be prepared to be on your feet the whole time.
For your safety, proper kitchen attire is required. Space is available to change before and after the project, as well as to store outerwear and smaller personal belongings. Aprons and disposable masks are provided.
Proper kitchen attire includes:
~ Hair Covering: Hat, Scarf, Bandana. (Disposable hairnets are also available.)
~ Slip-resistant shoes/sneakers. Please no open-toed shoes or sandals.
~ No shorts or skirts.
ADDITIONAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS -- EFFECTIVE MARCH 27, 2020
On the advice of a medical advisory team, as of March 27 Crossroads Community Services is redoubling our efforts to ensure the safety of our volunteers and guests.
Our updated process involves mirroring hospital-level procedures, including a health check questionnaire before you schedule your volunteer shift; and new procedures before, during and after your service.
Questions before scheduling a volunteer cooking shift:
Ask yourself these three questions at home, to help you decide if you should volunteer:
1. Have you been practicing social distancing, as defined by keeping at least 6 feet away from everyone outside your immediate household? If you have not, we ask that you reconsider your volunteer service.
2. Are you taking your temperature at home once a day, if you have a thermometer? If so, has your temperature been within a "normal" range of for your body (97.7 – 99.5F) for the last seven days?
3. Do you, or someone you live with, have a chronic medical condition? If so, consult with your healthcare provider before volunteering.
Pre-Shift Volunteer Check-In
Upon your arrival, your Team Leader or designated health monitor will execute a Pre-Shift Volunteer Check-In with every individual scheduled to work that day. Questions will include:
1. Have you, or anyone you live with, experienced any of the following symptoms? If your answer is yes, you should call your doctor and not volunteer.
~ Dry cough
~ Shortness of breath
~ Extreme tiredness
2. Are you over 50? New York City guidelines recommend that you not volunteer. We recommend you discuss this with your family’s medical professionals to assess your personal risk.
3. Do you have any underlying medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory or heart problems? If so, please consult your physician before volunteering.
On-Site Temperature Monitoring
As an added safety measure, we have acquired infrared thermometers (the kind that are used on the forehead), and we will take the temperature of everyone arriving to volunteer. Those with an elevated temperature (anything above 99.5) will not be permitted to volunteer.
During Your Shift
We have a limited supply of disposable masks and are requiring all volunteers to cover their mouth and nose with a mask during the duration of their shift. Since we may run out of masks, we ask that you always bring a handkerchief or bandana as a back-up. We are actively attempting to secure enough masks for the duration of the crisis.
We are imposing strict social distancing rules for our volunteers and our guest line. In fact, the guests we serve will soon have painted circles marked on the sidewalk to ensure they stand 6 feet apart at all times while waiting for their meal. Volunteers inside and out will also be given visual cues as reminders to maintain distancing.
We realize these are some of the strictest safety protocols we can put in place. However, because we value — beyond measure — our volunteers' willingness to serve with us, we want and need to enlist the best defenses we know of at this time against an illness that is unsuspecting and without prejudice.
We know what you are putting yourselves at risk so as to help those who do not have the resources most of us have at our disposal. Crossroads exists to serve you as much as we exist to serve the hungry and the homeless.
If you are willing to adopt these new procedures, we hope you will join us in this vital work.
Crossroads Community Services is located at 108 East 51st Street, between Lexington & Park Aves.
If you, your family or small group is able to volunteer for a cooking shift(s) during this uncertain time, please email email@example.com with the subject line "TGC Dinner Cooking Team." I'll be in touch shortly to get you on the schedule.
And if you like, please visit our website to learn more about Crossroads Community Services.
Thanks and be blessed,
- Jeremy Shaffer -
Crossroads Kitchen Operations Manager
(...and fellow TGC'er)