PHOENIX — There are thousands of people experiencing homelessness right now in Arizona, and the Coronavirus adds extra stress for this vulnerable population. St. Vincent de Paul is just one non-profit in the Valley working to make sure people in our community don’t go hungry, while also trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The organization is making and serving about 4,000 sandwiches a day. They’ve made a lot of changes including working without volunteers to keep everyone as safe as possible, Shannon Clancy, Associate Executive Director said.
“To protect the health, especially of the guests that we serve in our dining room, we have pivoted all of our dining service," Clancy added.
That means they’re handing out pre-packaged, to go meals like sandwiches outside, instead of inside the building. And the clinic that serves uninsured people is also working to do more telemedicine.
“Unlike some of us when people are living on the street, they can’t wash their hands as many times a day," Clancy said. "They don’t have a place to isolate when they’re sick.
So there are hand-washing and sanitizing stations readily available.
“All of our services at SVDP are really working to try to continue to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our community," she said.
As of January 2019, National HUD data shows there are a little more than 10,000 people experiencing homelessness in our state every day. It's a big need Clancy says her teams don’t expect to see ending any time soon.
“We need to have the food that we’ll be able to deliver in food boxes to families who may have lost jobs over the last week or two or had their hours cut so significantly that they’ll be struggling to put food on the table and pay rent," she said.
Clancy says they want Arizona to know they're in this for the long haul, to support anyone who needs help.
“We are still here and we’re going to be doing everything in our power to continue to serve and we will look to the community for their support in whatever ways they can," she said.
If you'd like to help St. Vincent de Paul, click here for more information.