Category Archives: COVID-19

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) updates for volunteers and public gatherings

UPDATE 10:46 p.m. Friday, July 3

Nashville transitioned back to a modified version of Phase Two today. Information about the specifics of the modified phase guidelines can be found here. Guidelines for group sizes remain largely the same — gatherings are capped at 25 people — but we encourage volunteers to wear masks, practice proper social distancing, be vigilant about hand washing, and conduct as much business outdoors as possible.

UPDATE 1:51 p.m. Friday, June 26

As the city of Nashville moves into Phase Three of Mayor Cooper’s Roadmap for Reopening Nashville, guidelines for volunteering and group size remain largely unchanged from Phase Two. 

We’ve added a COVID-19 section to our website at hon.org/covid19. There you will find the latest updates about volunteering, and opportunities to support disaster relief during this time.

UPDATE 3:47 p.m. Wednesday, June 10

Volunteer project guidelines and parameters are evolving as our city continues to move through the phases of reopening. Here are some things to know about volunteering during Phase Two of Mayor Cooper’s Roadmap for Reopening Nashville:

  • A wider variety of projects is available on hon.org, including park cleanups, community garden prep, and more. Check out our calendar to see what’s coming up.
  • The attendance cap on projects has been raised from 10 volunteers to 25, and we have asked our partners to only recruit for the number of volunteers they can accommodate while still heeding social distancing guidelines.
  • Our partner agencies are working to ensure that projects are safe for volunteers, staff, and the community. We have added a question regarding safety to the feedback survey we send out after every project, so if volunteers feel unsafe we can address those concerns on a project by project basis.
Thank you, volunteers, for all you’re doing to help meet needs in our community!
  

UPDATE 12:27 p.m. Tuesday, April 7

Volunteer Tennessee has issued helpful guidelines for those wanting to volunteer safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read and download them here.

UPDATE 12 p.m. Tuesday, March 17

The situation regarding COVID-19 precautions and how they affect tornado relief efforts is changing rapidly. HON continues to work with OEM and city health officials to evolve our disaster response efforts in real time.

Some measures we are taking to help keep community members safe:

— We are asking our partners to post only volunteer projects that pertain to meeting urgent needs in the community, which we are defining as food and shelter. We are collaborating with our partners and others in the community who are doing this work to identify how volunteers can best support them and be safe at this time, and will provide updates as we have actionable information that meets safety guidelines.

We are urging our partners to limit group sizes at projects to 10 people for the next 15 days, at which point we will evaluate whether this time period needs to be extended.

— We are continuing to ask volunteers who feel unwell to rest at home rather than attend projects.

— We encourage volunteers to use their own discretion when deciding whether to attend a volunteer project.

— We are working on identifying ways volunteers can help our partners remotely during this time.

UPDATE 7:06 p.m. Thursday, March 12

HON is working closely with OEM and the city as the COVID-19 situation evolves. As a result of the health department’s recommendations, we’re looking at a number of adjustments heading toward the weekend:

—  limiting the maximum number of volunteers at projects to 50

— stocking projects with hand sanitizer

— requesting that volunteers who feel like they’re getting sick rest at home instead of coming to projects

Please make sure you read the information at this link and continue to heed best practices regarding limiting contact with others, washing hands, etc.

Volunteers who feel unsure about exposure risk and would rather not chance it should feel free to go to their hon.org accounts and remove themselves from projects.

HON will continue to provide updates and evolve plans as needed in collaboration with the city of Nashville, OEM, and the health department.

Original post on Wednesday 3/11 at 12:25 p.m.:

As concerns grow about the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and the Nashville Public Health Department have shared following information and resources:

Basics that are always best practice:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly (at least 20 seconds, with soap)
  • Don’t touch your face, especially with unwashed hands
  • Minimize hand-to-hand contact with others

Additional information:

Show of Hands Week Day 4: Join the local mask-making movement

Between May 1-7, Hands On Nashville will highlight ways to stay connected and serve your neighbors even as our community honors social distancing guidelines. Check back here and on our social media channels to join in our #ShowOfHandsWeek: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

MasksNOW is a nationwide grassroots organization that sprang up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The local chapter — MasksNOW TN — has received requests for more than 12,000 masks from more than 26 facilities and essential workers across Tennessee, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

You don’t have to be a sewist to volunteer with MasksNOW, as there are many types of roles that help power their efforts, including fundraising and administrative tasks. Register now and join the more than 118 Tennessee volunteers who already have signed up.

We talked with Brenda Gadd and Katrina Henderson, the Tennessee state leads for MasksNOW, to discuss their organization and how individuals can get involved.

Can you tell me more about what types of volunteer roles you’re looking for? 

BG: We definitely need sewists. We’ve had over 10,000 calls for masks — and that’s being conservative — so we do need sewists doing the work, but there’s also distribution, and needing volunteers to pick up materials or have them mailed. The more sewists we get, the more capacity we will have and the more entities we can reach out to.

How did you begin recruiting volunteers for MasksNOW TN?

BG: We quickly found there are a lot of folks out there who want to help, or who are already sewing but they need to know how to connect with resources. That’s really what this does in a simple way — it allows the volunteers to take control of what they want to do and match with the need. Once we get a volunteer in our system, we can get you materials and match you with donations.  

Can you tell me a little more about the masks?

KH: These masks are for anyone and everyone; we don’t discriminate about who we give them to. We are doing a lot of work with Room In The Inn, the homeless population in Nashville, and they’re all free.

BG: Right. We don’t sell them, these are all volunteer made, and we’ve been trying to collaborate with local businesses as well. We’ve set up partnerships in the community with people who donate one mask for every mask sold. 

What can volunteers expect after they sign up? 

KH: Volunteers should expect an email within 48 hours of signing up, welcoming them and telling them how it all works. They’re also welcome to reach out to me directly at KatrinaTN@masksnow.org  if they have questions.

Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

TODAY’S ACTIVITIES (MAY 4): Join the Mask Making Movement

As health officials recommend wearing face masks in certain public places, the need for widespread availability of masks is crucial. Here are three ways you can help:

  1. Volunteer: Organizations including MasksNOW and Make Nashville are sewing for a cause and aiming to slow the spread of COVID-19. If you’re interested in volunteering with one of these partner organizations, click here.
  2. Donate money or materials: Both MasksNOW and Make Nashville accept donations of money and items to help them meet their missions. Learn more about donating to Make Nashville hereLearn more about donating to MasksNOW here.
  3. Make your own masks for personal use: MasksNOW has provided patterns for those handy with a needle or without. And for some helpful safety guidelines, see the CDC’s recommendations here.

#ShowOfHandsWeek Activities

FRIDAY, MAY 1: Raise your hand and tell us why you choose to be a helper

SATURDAY, MAY 2: Sign up to serve as a volunteer in May

SUNDAY, MAY 3: Bring color and hope to a neighbor with flowers 

TODAY: Join the local mask-making effort

TUESDAY, MAY 5: Give thanks for those on the front lines

WEDNESDAY, MAY 6: Find a virtual volunteer opportunity

THURSDAY, MAY 7: Support volunteerism and Hands On Nashville via The Big Payback

Project Connect continues efforts to feed hungry families in North Nashville

When a tornado touched down March 3 and left a 60-mile path of devastation through Middle Tennessee,  Project Connect Nashville knew what it had to do: Serve hot meals to North Nashville residents whose neighborhoods had been badly damaged.

The day after the storm, PCN — whose mission is to build relationships with individuals stuck in a cycle of poverty and connect them to the faith community, living wage jobs, and stable housing — established a central command for recovery, food, and supplies distribution.

PCN employees Quanita Thomas and the Rev. Ella Clay were essential in startup operations. Clay offered the church at which she pastors, the Historic First Community Church at 1815 Knowles St., and Thomas assisted with making connections in the neighborhood, helping even though her own home was damaged by the storm.

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Volunteers feed those in North Nashville following the March 3 tornado. [Project Connect Nashville]
Volunteers immediately began tracking of the needs of the neighborhood’s residents: Who lived where, how many meals each house needed, and even whether a home had names to add to their ongoing prayer list. The first two weeks after the storm were the most demanding because many of the homes did not have power, said Laura Ingram, PCN’s North Nashville Location Manager.

“We have about 400 addresses of people who we try to feed multiple times a week,” Ingram said. Those residents include families and those whose mobility is limited, such as seniors and individuals with disabilities, who otherwise would not have been able to access food in the wake of the disaster.

PCN, in partnership with Just the Crumbs — a faith-based mobile food unit from Columbia, Miss. — now serves and delivers meals five days a week, and offers essential resources to the community two hours a day at its North Nashville Resource Center at 1811 Knowles Street.

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Just The Crumbs is a disaster relief ministry that has been aiding PCN with food distribution efforts in North Nashville. [Project Connect Nashville]
When COVID-19 got a foothold in Middle Tennessee two weeks after the tornado and more people began staying at home, Ingram says PCN’s volunteer numbers began to dwindle. But she and her colleagues continued their efforts.

“Serving people food was something we really felt we needed to keep doing as it’s too risky for the elderly and disabled to get out and shop for fresh foods,” Ingram says.

As a precaution, PCN is limiting volunteer groups to six people, who are asked to maintain a safe distance when delivering meals. The organization provides gloves, and volunteers are asked to bring their own masks if possible.

“These volunteers are invaluable to us because PCN feels it does take a village to love this wide variety of people and neighborhoods,” Ingram says. “It’s something we can’t do alone, but together we are able to check on everybody and make sure no one is falling through the cracks.”

The idea for Project Connect Nashville was birthed out of the 2010 flood, when PCN’s executive director, Alan Murdock, coordinated recovery in partnership with the East Nashville community through his garden center in Five Points. The organization has now opened campuses in South and North Nashville, and offers classes to provide knowledge, skills, and encouragement, while offering a faith community to support individuals through life’s joys and struggles.

To volunteer with Project Connect Nashville, sign up here. For a list of needed donations, click here.

For the Community Resource Center, volunteers are key to meeting critical needs

The days since a tornado tore through Middle Tennessee just over a month ago have been long and exhausting for Tina Doniger and Maria Amado, who serve as the executive director and board chair, respectively, of the Community Resource Center. The CRC, which regularly supplies basic essentials to agencies serving vulnerable populations in more than 24 counties, was activated following the storm to serve as Metro Nashville’s collection and distribution point for donations deployed to survivors throughout the region.

For Doniger and Amado, even though the days sometimes blur together, it’s the acts of kindness and generosity that stand out.

Amado shares the story of Levi, a 3-year-old boy who came to the center with his grandmother to drop off donations.

“Levi is about 3 and a half, 4 years old, and he is sucking his thumb,” Amado recalls, retrieving a sandwich bag of coins and dollar bills from across the room. “And he had emptied out his piggy bank. For the kids who lost their homes.”

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Joe Pollard, left, hands the keys of his newly donated truck to the Community Resource Center’s Maria Amado, center, and Tina Doniger, right.

Then there’s Joe Pollard, president of the Bank of Odessa, Mo., who, upon realizing the CRC didn’t have a box truck of their own, donated the one he had driven down to donate supplies. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision that left Doniger and Amado speechless.

The stories of generosity add up — volunteers who came for two hours and stayed for two weeks, those who took time off from their own jobs to volunteer, those who donated knowledge and skills to help the CRC expand its reach — and take the shape of a community pulling together to make an impact far greater than could have been made by one or two individuals.

As COVID-19 sent shock waves through the region, complicating tornado relief efforts and compounding community needs, Doniger says the CRC has continued to evolve its disaster response to meet those rapidly shifting needs.

“The service we provide is essential for people moving forward,” says Doniger — who is the CRC’s sole paid employee. “There’s now even more added pressure on the people who have been serving, and more added pressure on us to find people to help.”

Keeping volunteers healthy is top of mind for Doniger, who says she provides every safety measure she can for volunteers. She provides gloves, masks, and disinfectant. Within the warehouse, volunteers stay apart, sorting their donations on their respective shelves. Donation drop-offs are now conducted without any person-to-person contact.

“The only way to keep going is for people to help us do the work,” Doniger said. “If we don’t continue doing what we do, we won’t be prepared to service the people. As long as we are healthy, and we can open this door, we are going to serve people no matter what.”

To aid the CRC in its mission of serving those in need, sign up to volunteer here.

A letter from our CEO regarding confirmed COVID-19 case

We received news today that a volunteer who served at Greater Heights Missionary Baptist Church has been diagnosed with COVID-19; they volunteered there on several occasions during the initial tornado relief response and were last there Saturday, March 14.

Since COVID-19 can be spread from contact with contaminated surfaces, as well as person-to person, we are notifying all Hands On Nashville volunteers who registered to participate at Greater Heights from March 5, when they opened for tornado relief, to present. The church is ceasing volunteer activities at this time and will remain closed to volunteers for two weeks.

Please continue to closely monitor how you’re feeling and reach out to your medical provider with any concerns. The health and safety of our volunteers, community partners, and neighbors-in-need remains our priority as always, and most especially, during this difficult season.

With much gratitude,
Lori Shinton
Hands On Nashville President & CEO

COVID-19 Update: Staying Safer at Home

We’re writing to share some information regarding Mayor Cooper’s Safer at Home order from Sunday, March 22.

This order asks us to stay inside our homes and immediately limit outside interaction to essential activities only. (Think groceries, prescription refills, picking up take-out, and walking the dog.) On those occasions when you are out of your home for necessary tasks, stay at least six feet away from others.

This will further impact volunteer projects, so you may hear from us about additional cancellations and rescheduling.

Here’s the link to the full order and some information you need to know:

If you have lost your job or income due to layoffs associated with the COVID-19 crisis, you can find updated information about local job openings and opportunities here.

YOU CAN … 

  • Go to the grocery, convenience or warehouse store
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up medications and other healthcare necessities
  • Go to medical appointments (check with your doctor or provider first)
  • Go to a restaurant for take-out, delivery or drive-thru
  • Care for or support a friend or family member
  • Take a walk, ride your bike, hike, jog and be in nature for exercise — just keep at least six feet between you and others.
  • Walk your pets and take them to the veterinarian if necessary
  • Help someone to get necessary supplies
  • Receive deliveries from any business which delivers

YOU SHOULD NOT … 

  • Go to work unless you are providing essential services as defined by this Order
  • Visit friends and family if there is no urgent need
  • Maintain less than 6 feet of distance from others when you go out
  • Visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility or other residential care facility, except for limited exceptions as provided on the facility websites.

For more information, please see the frequently-asked questions on the City of Nashville’s COVID-19 Response page

A letter from our CEO regarding unconfirmed COVID-19 case

In the spirit of being a good neighbor and out of an abundance of caution, we want to share some information we received about a volunteer who participated in recent tornado relief efforts.

We learned yesterday evening that an individual who served at the Hands On Nashville office, Community Resource Center, and at Shelby Bottoms between March 6 and March 13 is experiencing mild symptoms that have been associated with COVID-19 as of Sunday, March 15. This person has been in contact with their medical provider, who declined to recommend them for further testing. As a precaution, the individual is self-isolating for 14 days per the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control.

Although this is not a confirmed case of COVID-19, we have a few things we’d like to share:

  • Volunteers are welcomeSince last Friday, we put extra precautions in place that allow you to take care of yourself while you’re helping take care of others. Upon hearing from the individual, we took additional steps to disinfect the buildings thoroughly and reach out to those who may have been in the same space as the person experiencing the symptoms.

Service is a key part of what will keep our community strong during this moment when many of our neighbors are faced with especially difficult challenges. With that top of mind, we will actively continue updating our policies in alignment with the best practices provided by the CDC and our local health officials. We need and we appreciate your continued support.

Lori Shinton
Hands On Nashville President & CEO