The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dramatically affect our program operations, as all 14 host congregations in our Emergency Shelter Program either remain closed completely or are only slowly opening with limited capacity. Therefore, our congregational rotation continues to be suspended at this time. All families in the Emergency Shelter Program at the onset of the pandemic continue to be safely housed at our Short-Term Housing facility. We are still not accepting new families into the program at this time.
On a weekly basis, we continue to support our program families and our graduate families who have been hit hard by the pandemic with food donations, supply donations, case management, and other assistance. Over the last three months of the pandemic, Family Promise of Orange County has supported 23 families for a total of 88 people. Since the crisis began, we have had an average of 17 families and 69 people coming weekly to us for food & supply distribution. This is a drastic increase from the 8-10 families our program usually supports at one time!
We continue to be supported by partner organizations such as the United Way of Orange County and Bracken's Kitchen, who generously donate much needed food and supplies for our families. As a result of the CARES Act, we have also been able to receive USDA food boxes on a weekly basis, which help to provide food staples to help offset the food insecurity many of our families are facing right now.
We have been fortunate to have a few volunteers return to the office to help with our weekly donation sorting and distribution efforts. We also in the last week have begun accepting volunteers to help clean and organize the Family Resource Center, so that we will be ready to go once our program reopens in the future. We even had the Helpful Honda Guys stop by to lend us a hand!
Even though there are many hardships right now, there have been several blessings for our program. Despite COVID-19 and all its challenges, we have had six families graduate so far in 2020! One graduation was bittersweet, however, as we had to say goodbye to Elijah and LaShona, who moved across the country to Tennessee. We will miss them, baby Elijah, and new baby Eliona dearly.
Speaking of new babies, another graduate family, Edgar and Elizabeth, welcomed their newest bundle of joy in May, baby Isaias. We are overjoyed to have another member of the Family Promise family!
Even though our program looks a lot different right now, we remain committed as ever to the mission of eliminating family homelessness in Orange County. It is our goal to help all the families in our program survive and even thrive during this difficult time. We look forward to the future where we can once again reconnect in person with our amazing congregations, volunteers, and supporters!
For ways that you can help the families of Family Promise of Orange County during the pandemic, please see our Current Needs page.