Despite the challenges this rapidly evolving situation presents for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), including how best to balance the needs of the people we serve, the needs of staff and the needs of our community, MCC is well-positioned to continue providing support and care.
Early last week to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers and those we serve, we closed our Thrift Shops and offices and changed our programming to embrace physical distancing.
We recommit ourselves to caring for our neighbours, whether across the street or the globe, and being people of service and generosity. This is a time to move beyond mistrust, and even xenophobia, and look to the needs of vulnerable people everywhere.
When crises like these hit, the needs of vulnerable and displaced families become even more pronounced, whether at home or around the world and MCC is well-positioned to respond to the impacts of the current crisis in the places we work, and is already working to respond to COVID-19, through:
- Sustaining essential health services serving displaced and vulnerable peoples during the pandemic. While MCC is not a medical NGO, we support neglected health services in extremely vulnerable places – such as a primary care clinic serving a displaced people’s camp in DR Congo, mental health services in Afghanistan, and community-based maternal and child health workers in Somalia.
- Expanding health promotion and disease prevention programming that can slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes providing hygiene kits and relief buckets (material resources donations), health education to encourage handwashing, and helping people access soap, clean water, cleaning products and improved sanitation to keep their families healthy.
- Providing the most at-risk groups with emergency food assistance and support during the pandemic, as this is essential to keeping them healthy.
- Ensuring that all MCC programs are doing what they can to minimize risk and follow the latest public health guidance.
In Ontario, we are:
- Reaching out to those most marginalised while following the latest public health guidance. This includes using teleconferencing, online services and letter writing to reach out to people in their homes to ensure no one feels abandoned or forgotten.
- Supporting newcomers (refugees and Low Germans) through efforts to ensure that people have access to correct and up to date Covid-19 information in an understandable manner.
- With community leaders, we are monitoring the situation in remote First Nations very closely as we are concerned about Covid-19 getting into communities that are already dealing with inadequate housing, lack of clean water and limited access to health care facilities. We are reaching out to partners and are on standby to assist.
The Circles of Friends program, which is focused on supporting individuals transitioning out of homelessness through friendship and social integration, has found their work difficult, especially when many of the folks we support lack access to their own phone or computer. The team has shared how one of the Circles has taken to writing snail mail as a way of reaching out and supporting an isolated Circle participant as his health and vulnerabilities have kept him from leaving his small apartment.
One hundred years ago, MCC was formed to help people in crisis. MCC has moved toward similar challenges. Today, we are working hard to live up to this legacy. We’ve done it before, and we’ll do it again.
We encourage people to continue supporting the causes they’re passionate about, including the work of MCC.
The safety and well-being of our community is of the utmost importance to us. In light of this, we are closing our offices until further notice. We are working remotely so please reach out to our staff via phone or email. Our general contact numbers are 519-745-8458 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To reach a specific staff member via email use email@example.com (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thank you for your ongoing support. During these uncertain times, we value prayers for our friends and neighbours, around the world and locally affected by COVID-19.
All MCC Thrift Shops in Ontario and the MCC rePurpose Centre will be closed until further notice.
At MCC the safety of our community and staff are very important to us. We are implementing the following measures to help keep our employees, families and communities as healthy and safe as possible and do our part to help slow the rate of infection.
Most face-to-face programming provided by MCC within our communities has been cancelled and wherever possible we are making use of technology to facilitate continued connections. Please check with your MCC program contact to determine the status of a particulate event or call 519-745-8458 or email email@example.com.
All in-person events and fundraisers are being cancelled until April 5 and full refunds or, if preferred, an income tax receipt are available. Please check our website at mcco.ca/events for more info.
At MCC Thrift Shops and rePurpose Centre we are asking all our valuable volunteers to stay home until April 5 and will be reducing our hours of operation to 11 am to 5 pm daily from Monday-Saturday.
At MCC Offices (Kitchener, 50 Kent, Niagara and Toronto) we have directed any staff who can work remotely to do so. We acknowledge that working remotely is not possible for all roles within our organization so are implementing as much social distancing as possible to protect the health of our staff and supporters. As usual, staff can be contacted via email and by phone. If you plan to visit an office, please call ahead to avoid disappointment if we are not available. Our general contact information is 519-745-8458 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have always taken seriously the cleanliness of our shops and offices and we know this is more important than ever. Aligned with guidance from health authorities, we are implementing additional measures to clean and disinfect our locations.
We will continue to carefully monitor and assess new developments and follow guidance from the World Health Organization and local health authorities. Any updates will be posted here and on social media.
Thank you for your ongoing support. During these uncertain times, we value prayers for our friends and neighbours, around the world and locally affected by COVID-19