Transformations CDC Transforms Lives Despite Evolving Challenges

Transformations CDC Transforms Lives Despite Evolving Challenges 300 300 Episcopal Community Ministries

Life at Church of Our Saviour | La Iglesia de Nuestro Salvador in Mt. Auburn (Cincinnati)  has transformed since 2006 when they became a bilingual church in their principal liturgy and official communications.  This church is intentional about cultural diversity and serving the needs of their immigrant population, most of whom are living in poverty.   Six years ago, Transformations|Transformacion was formed to help support their asylum- seeking immigrant neighbors, primarily in Price Hill.

Low-income immigrants communicated that the lack of transportation and English skills are major obstacles to creating better lives for themselves and their families.  Transformations addresses these issues and a lot more, such as learning support and food insecurity.  Check out their open Facebook postings to follow their programs.

We checked in with Nancy Sullivan, Transformations Director, to see how they’ve adapted during the Covid-19 crisis:

We continue our feeding ministries. We have shared our new protocol with other pantries and groups so they can keep their guests as safe as possible.  

An issue for us, (and here some of the work of Transformations, the food pantry and the parish itself overlap), is how to continue to help members of the parish who typically rely on our little church bus, a minivan, etc., to get to church to worship, then get food. 

We’ve been very careful about having less than ten people come to participate in a live-streamed service, so it wouldn’t make much sense to cram dozens of folks into vans, then ask them to maintain safe distancing!

So we have bent the pantry rules a little and completed all the pantry paperwork (except signatures), for them and then made home deliveries. This has been challenging, but obviously helpful at a time when many people are suddenly unemployed. 

I’ve also been taking kids to get school meals. Everyone in the US has found this close to impossible, but until late last week it was federal law that school food worker had to hand the food directly to a child.  Now that has been relaxed, so a parent or guardian can get food. 

Yesterday after the site at Roberts Academy closed, I waited for CPS food service to come check temperature of the food before they took it back.  Fortunately it was 42 not 40 degrees, so the gave me 50-60 bags, each with a full school breakfast and lunch. I took them to nearby low-income housing complex after sending a WhatsApp message to the residents I know there. The bags of food flew out in 25 minutes!

But having various food pantries collaborate with school food, Produce Popups, etc., is vital. People without transportation can’t get to Roberts, for instance, it isn’t walkable, and pantries rely on senior citizen volunteers, so some are closing. Transformations presented to Cincinnati city council, COS and other major players that we need to have all these resources together at one time, in one place, that is walkable in an area with many low-income folks. We’ll have our second conference call on this later in the week. 

Nancy Sullivan, 3/31/20
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