Local Organizations Change Delivery of Services Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Everything has changed.

That is a sentiment echoed across social media, along telephone wires and in person-to-person conversation (held at a responsible distance).

Stores are closed, buildings normally teeming with activity, such as the courthouse, are quiet, and doctor’s offices seem less busy, though the employees will tell you that they are as busy as ever.

And organizations that are often taken for granted as part of the structure, that makes people’s lives better and easier, have had to change how they carry out their services.

Many of these organizations fall under the umbrella of support of the Clearfield Area United Way.

Chief Professional Officer Nancy Pinto has been busy keeping in touch with both member agencies and also those who don’t necessarily receive funding from United Way, but that work with them to help portions of Clearfield County.

Pinto said they are all busy doing whatever they can, and some of the agencies provided information on what they’re doing to reach out to the community during an age of physical distancing.

One very busy agency that has had to find a new way of doing things is Catholic Charities. Nancy Mattison said: “We’re trying to stay connected with our clients and provide services.”

Staff are working at home, she said, except for herself, and they are still seeing clients via video chat.

Catholic Charities also provides counseling services and those sessions are still being held via telephone or video chat.

They are also helping families with needed supplies such as diapers, formula, baby food and so on. She said clients call and tell her what they need, and the items are put together and a time to pick them up is scheduled.

With people being laid off or even losing their jobs, Mattison said more and more need help. If you have a child, age one year or younger, call 814-371-4717.

Boy Scouts are used to regularly meeting together for activities and right now that is impossible. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things they can do, and in fact, they’re even still working on those merit badges.

Gregg Bennett, director of the Bucktail Council, said the scouts have a web page for “Scouting at Home” https://bucktail.org/home/scoutingathome-in-the-bucktail-council/.

Bennett said they challenge all scouts to do one activity per day.

Merit Badges include journalism, gardening, aviation and more, and the scouts can meet virtually through the council’s Facebook page and #ScoutingAtHome.

Bennett said they have had a good response and within an hour of sending out the e-mail announcing the program, there were 76 visits to the Web site.

Scouts should also be aware of the National Camp-In on May 2 where scouts are encouraged to camp in their back yards or in their living rooms and participate in the activities they will find online for that weekend.

Children’s Aid Society’s most noticeable service to the community is their daycare and Pre-K Counts programs; however, those have been put on hold for the time being. Staff are working either from home or at the offices on varying schedules.

Bonnie Floro, executive director, said that teachers for Pre-K Counts have been connecting with the families of their students online and they have been distributing backpacks filled with activities.

And they are looking forward to the next school year and accepting applications for 2020-21.

Of course, a shutdown doesn’t mean that children in foster care no longer have needs.

Floro said their adoption and foster care services are still operating as usual with some minor changes in communication and monitoring, moving to a virtual setting whenever possible. She said the support group will meet in May online as well.

Other groups meeting in the virtual world include parenting programs such as Nurturing, the Triple P –Positive Parenting Program and Parents as Teachers and they are welcoming new members.

The Real Relationships programs are on hold, but Floro said they are looking for a way to meet virtually and more information will be forthcoming.

Anyone interested in services can contact the main office at 814-765-2686 or the Child Care Center at 814-765-2685 and more information can be found at the Web site www.childaid.org and facebook.com/childaid.org.

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