We at ChesMRC hope that you are staying safe and coping well with this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. As you well know, this situation has forced our community to adopt strong measures to protect ourselves and each other. Like us, you probably feel like an isolated piece of a puzzle, separated from the big picture, unable to connect physically with other pieces. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about that. As Angela Merkel said in her wonderful speech to the German people—and to the world: “at the moment, only distance is the expression of care.”
Please know that we are thinking of you with gratitude for your support and caring and that we are holding you close in our hearts. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel, and we will get there. We are in this together!
We want you to know what ChesMRC is doing in this time of crisis. How have the mandated protective measures impacted our work? How do we continue to serve our clients?
We suspended all after school activities in our K-5, Middle School, and High School programs on March 12th. This included our Scouts, Healthy Habits, and STEM activities. During the last week of the programs, we emphasized to our young participants the critical need to practice good hygiene and disease prevention habits. We stressed the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They took that strong message home to their families.
On Monday, March 23rd, we made the difficult decision to transition to working from home to ensure the safety of our staff and those we serve. Our staff is now serving our clients via phone.
According to Victoria Gomez, Bilingual Outreach Coordinator, her phone does not stop ringing from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. Assistant Director Estela Ramirez says that our clients are anxious and concerned, wanting to ensure that they have enough food and necessities for their families.
Some examples of services we have provided in recent days include facilitating health insurance renewals for our clients and connecting them with community resources that are supporting families during the COVID-19 crisis.
Lorelly Solano, Advancement Manager and Coordinator of the Talbot Language and Cultural Competence Program said: “I can’t imagine what it would be like to go through a crisis in a foreign country with language limitations”. Since a State of Emergency was declared in Talbot County on March 16th, ChesMRC has played an active role in keeping the Spanish-speaking community informed of developments with daily updates through various media. In particular, our Facebook page is being used as a source of culturally and linguistically appropriate resources, and we have observed an engagement increase of nearly 150% in the last week.
In this time of great need, our community’s response, your response, has been one of solidarity and support for the work of ChesMRC. You are helping us to ensure that our entire community remains strong and resilient. We want to reiterate our heartfelt thanks for all that you do. While you may not see our clients or hear their voice, please know that there is a powerful sense of gratitude. Through the services you support, you made it possible that many children received a meal at their door today. You helped many families to gain peace of mind because their health insurance remains active. You helped hundreds of individuals to stay informed because they were able to read complex emergency-related information in the language in which they are most proficient. Thanks in large part to you, our clients are reassured, knowing we are here for them and each other.
With gratitude, we surround you and your families with light and love and look forward to the time when we will be able to come together again!
Mateo, the ChesMRC Staff, and the Board of Directors