Small businesses and non-profits are especially hard hit during the coronavirus outbreak. We get it! Baltimore Fishbowl is a small business, too. To help small businesses and non-profits, we will provide regular updates to let you know how they are coping.
The following is an update from Arc Baltimore’s Chief Advancement Officer, Kate McGuire, CFRE, on how they are adapting and coping during these times.
How have you altered your business to adapt to the quarantine?
We have had to close our day service programs and have suspended supported employment for people working on our contract services in landscaping and janitorial. This impacts over 700 people. On the plus side, direct support staff from our day centers are helping us staff day time shifts at over 70 homes where we are supporting over 300 people with disabilities. Normally, we don’t have staff in the homes during the day because people there go out to jobs or other day programs. Our staff is pulling together to keep these essential supports together. Many additional supplies for sanitizing homes, masks and gloves, and even some games and puzzles to keep everyone content are being distributed every day. In addition, we are maintaining outreach to the hundreds of supported workers who are now unemployed. We are helping them get their benefits adjusted, proving food assistance when needed, and providing daily reassurance.
Are you doing something for the community or your employees that you want to share with our readers?
Over 300 people with developmental disabilities depend on us 24/7 in their homes to be safe and secure. For some that means help with bathing and personal care. For others it’s the distraction of a board game. Like all Marylanders, it is difficult for people with developmental disabilities to deal with the uncertainties of life during the coronavirus. Anxieties are high. Our staff are daily heroes.
What is the status of your employees?
Many of our direct support staff are continuing work in the homes of people with disabilities who are following the Stay at Home order. Others are making visits into homes of people who live with aging parents. And many staff are able to telework to continue functions of social work for foster care children, individual case work, and operations. Those unable to work have been using sick and vacation time and are being counseled on additional options as the time extends.
How can readers help you get through the crisis?
Three ways: Financial donations are important now because normal funding is not coming in and we are giving out front line support staff additional bonus pay to continue their essential work and hazard pay in the cases when they are working with people who have been exposed or have tested positive. Also an Amazon Wishlist is accessible from our website and has a variety of games, puzzles, and activities that can be purchased for direct shipment to The Arc where we can get it to the homes where 3-6 individuals and their staff may be in need of comfort and distraction. Lastly, we still need PPE and are gladly accepting donations of cloth masks.
How are you coping, personally?
We are taking it a day a time. It’s scary, but people are depending on us. We are as ready as we can be with the limited resources we have. We are counting on our partners to stay with us.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
People with developmental disabilities are like everyone else. We all want this to be over.
To learn more about the Arc Baltimore, visit their website and Facebook Page. As Kate mentions, the staff at The Arc Baltimore are daily heroes – helping those who can’t help themselves feel safe and secure during this uncertain time. If you can, look into donating either financially or PPEs/cloth masks, or check out their Amazon Wishlist.
If you represent a local small business or non-profit and would like to share your update with our readers, contact Nicole Allen at [email protected]. During the crisis, we will offer these sponsored posts for free as a service to the community.