Volunteering During the Coronavirus Crisis

During the COVID-19 crisis, SMGW offices have had to adapt to continue to serve participants while maintaining physical distance. We have set up abbreviated hours on our porches, where they receive food, toiletries, mail and schedule phone appointments for assistance with services such as filling out job applications, the Census 2020 form, and arranging Burial Assistance. Although the pick-up times are only two-hour time slots once a week, they require preparation. Thankfully, we have volunteers who have answered the call to help our Caseworkers to continue to serve our Participants. In the spirit of National Volunteer Appreciation Month, we’d like to spotlight volunteers from each office here!

NORTHWEST OFFICE 

 Bill Kenety is a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Norwood. Ordinarily he volunteers with Samaritan as a Front Office Coordinator, doing participant form intake and answering the phone among other administrative duties. Post-shutdown, Bill has been coming in to sort mail and food bags, as well as distributing them to participants.

Jay Mallin is another parishioner from St. John’s Episcopal Church, Norwood who runs a photography and videography business. While his business has been limited during the crisis, he has donated his video & photography services to SMGW, covering program participants have told their stories, and staff as they served participants on our office porches, and most recently produced our virtual Next Step Breakfast videos. During the shutdown, Jay has been the Interim Pantry Manager [not Clerk] during the crisis . . . we are looking for a new volunteer Pantry Manager going forward

SOUTHEAST OFFICE 

 Gloria Ducker is a member of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, SE DC. A longtime Front Office Coordinator at the Southeast-Anacostia office, she is still performing mail sorting duties. Post-shutdown she also packs and distributes food and toiletries bags, makes calls to Participants, and sends handwritten letters to let them know SMGW is thinking about them.

 NOVA OFFICE 

Ivy Kilby is a member of St. Alban’s, Annandale. She is an active Partner Representative for St. Alban’s and typically serves as Front Office Coordinator for the Northern Virginia office. During the shutdown she handles the Mail Window where she passes out mail and if needed, the phone, which is regularly wiped down. 

Carter Echols is a member of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, DC, and for many years served as SMGW’s Executive Director! She now volunteers as a Front Office Coordinator at the NoVa/Arlington office under normal circumstances. Post shutdown she is packing food and toiletry bags and helping distribute them on the office porch. 

 SILVER SPRING OFFICE

 Kathy Staudt is a member of the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, Silver Spring, and is the Lead Caseworker at our office there. In addition to using phone and email to keep in touch with participants, she is using Zoom as a tool to help walk them through next steps and keep them on track with their many goals.

Steve Brushett is also a member of the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, Silver Spring, and serves on SMGW’s Board and Finance Committee as Treasurer. Steve also provides financial coaching services to participants at the Silver Spring office under normal circumstances. Though that is more limited these days, he has been working over the phone with a participant referred to him by the Southeast/Anacostia Office.

 Mary Fromyer, on the left, is a member at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Silver Spring. Ordinarily she serves as a Resume Writer and helps with other administrative duties as needed. During the shutdown, she is coming in regularly to check mail and has helped the Silver Spring office craft communications to local community partners, letting them know that the services of SMGW are still available.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Carol Coonrod of St Thomas’ DC is also helping to serve NoVa/Arlington in addition to her duties as SMGW’s Partner Organizer. She has been making and distributing masks to participants in need! 

Jan Nelson is a Front Office Coordinator at the NW DC office, and while she can’t come in to the office at this time, she and her husband have donated 80 paper masks, a box of gloves, and 4 hats with protective shields!