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 Second Chance Inc. on how they are adapting and coping during these times.
How have you altered your business to adapt to the quarantine?
Our retail store in downtown Baltimore (located at 1700 Ridgely St.) is still open, but we have reduced our hours of operation to 9am to 5pm on Thursday through Sunday. We are considered an essential business since we sell building supplies like lumber and appliances. Fortunately, since we have 250,000 square feet of space, it has been relatively easy to maintain social distancing, and we’re being diligent with sanitary and other precautions.
We have seen a decrease in our deconstruction work, with less calls coming in and fewer active jobs. We are still picking up donations, as long as our workers can maintain social distance, which means we will pick up curbside or in a garage, but we aren’t entering donors’ homes at this time. Donations can also be dropped off at our retail location during operating hours.
Our volunteers, who support us here every week and have a significant positive impact on our operations, have been asked to re-schedule until the Governor’s stay-at-home order is lifted.
Are you doing something for the community or your employees that you want to share with our readers?
We have established a food pantry for our employees to help make sure they have all the essentials they need. We are accepting contributions of nonperishable food and household items (canned goods, bottled water, toilet paper, etc.), which can be dropped off at our regular donation drop-off place between 9am-5pm on Thursday through Sunday. Donated items are being sanitized before they are distributed to our employees.
What is the status of your employees?
Our mission has always been to provide job training and employment for those in Baltimore who need it most, including those seeking a path out of poverty after being incarcerated. We currently employ about 170 people, and we know that many of our staff live paycheck to paycheck and have no security blanket, so we are doing everything in our power to keep their hours consistent. And we are hoping to get support from government relief funding so that we can continue to keep everyone working.
Our employees and trainees who are usually in the field deconstructing homes are being put to work in the warehouse. And we are being flexible with lateness and other issues and needs, including parents who have their children at home and those whose commutes are more challenging due to changes in bus routes.
How can readers help you get through the crisis?
Our greatest need is support to keep our employees taken care of and working. Donations to our food pantry, financial donations and other gifts to benefit our workers are greatly appreciated. Our staff has been very grateful for the generosity we’ve already experienced. We had one couple reach out and donate a $10 Subway gift card to each employee and the gesture was very humbling! Anyone wishing to help is welcome to call us at 410-385-1700 or donate online at https://www.secondchanceinc.
We know many people are taking this opportunity to clean out and organize their home. If you would like to donate your gently used items (tax receipts provided) but can’t or would rather not come to the store to drop them off, you can request a pickup up by calling us or using this online form: https://www.
How are you coping, personally?
Leave it to a pandemic to show you just how powerless you really are! Instead of being sidelined by that, however, we are focusing our energy on the many constructive things we can do. Our passion for Baltimore and the people we serve has never been stronger, and to witness our staff come together as an even closer community to support one another is deeply touching.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
We are very grateful for everyone’s support of our organization and our employees. We invite you to call us at 410-385-1700 with any questions, and to stay connected with us online at www.secondchanceinc.org and on our social media pages: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
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.