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17

TrueNorth, like all of us, has faced a huge learning curve on how to function in a pandemic. We had no idea what it meant, what to do, and what COVID-19’s real impact would be.

Over the past few months, we listened to the experts, read constantly to learn as scientists and doctors better understood the virus, followed Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s advice, and worked to develop and modify our response.

TrueNorth did not have face masks, protective gloves, bulk hand sanitizer, thermometers, or hospital-grade cleaning materials in stock. Why would we need those things? We, like you, struggled to locate these newly-necessary items.

As we have learned, we have taken actions and precautions to address COVID-19:

  • We moved the vast majority of our staff to work remotely. The transition has worked amazingly well, and all of our services have continued to be provided.
  • Because we are classified as essential services, a core group of 15 staff have continued working at the TrueNorth Service Center to support our operations. 
  • We've closed the Service Center to the public for now as a protective measure.
  • Everyone working in the Service Center wears masks and gloves, is taking staff temperatures before entering, sanitizing hourly, and maintaining social distancing. 
  • We changed our Food Pantry from self-serve to curbside drive-up service; increased food quantity in our pre-packed pantry boxes; and doubled the monthly food trucks from Feeding America West Michigan to meet growing needs.
  • We’ve put our treasured volunteers on hiatus until it’s safe to bring you back. We miss you all.
  • Our youth programs, like Camp Newaygomentoring, and Out-of-School Time, all moved to provide programming electronically. 
  • Our Weekend PowerPacks Program for kids facing hunger has been successfully modified to be delivered by schools in partnership with local school districts’ food programs.
  • We canceled a number of community events to ensure everyone's safety: Bowlapalooza, our mentoring fundraiser; Camp Newaygo’s Enchanted Forest, for families; Community of Efforts, which celebrates our volunteers; Outdoor Education programs; and many more.
     

We, like you, continue to do our best to understand the coronavirus' impact on our local community. We are remaining fluid in our service delivery to ensure that we are addressing the needs of our community members in a safe and effective manner.

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