These Days at Highbanks
Highbanks Society has been essentially locked down for one week and has implemented a no visitor policy for two weeks prior to today.
Our families are safe and sound.
At Highbanks, we take our responsibility to protect the health and wellness of our staff members very seriously. If you know the folks on my team, convincing them to work remotely is nearly impossible. I know they are only complying because they want to keep our Mama’s and kiddos safe.
Many of us are relying heavily on our own networks to bring us groceries or supplies if we are isolating. For the Highbanks families, this is not an option.
The families in the Highbanks program are with us precisely because they have little to no family or social support. Combine this reality with a group of young Mother-led families (many of whom have a lifetime of trauma behind them) living in close quarters, and things get challenging.
It’s imperative that I stay healthy.
I only go to work and home. My husband and son are practicing isolation with a little social distancing only to get us essential supplies.
Every day, I go to Highbanks to deep clean and sanitize EVERYTHING in our community space (door handles, hand railings, cupboard, cupboard handles, bathroom, and all surfaces).
We are so fortunate to have a small supply of latex gloves, medical-grade masks, and hospital hand sanitizer.
I fill boxes to be left outside of apartment doors with frozen food, cleaning and hygiene supplies, games, puzzles, and crafts to keep kiddos occupied during these unbearably long days.
I cook a lot and often to fill our building with the smell of homey casseroles, simmering sauces, and comforting soups.
It’s the food and the feeling of calm and safety we are trying to provide!
Mostly, I listen and provide reassurance and support as I can.
Our psychologists have cut their rates in half and are “seeing” our families over the phone or by video conference.
There are lots of us out there. We are not front-line medical staff (for whom we are SO grateful for!) but we ARE deeply privileged to support folks who are vulnerable and whose lives have been made marginal in the community.
We are the people who work with the elderly, the very young, the poor, the folks with disabilities, and the medically fragile. The people for whom, unfortunately, paid service delivery is the center point of their lives.
Our work is essential.
Our normally well-stocked freezer and supply cupboards, which are kept filled by our generous partners including Soup Sisters, the Soroptimists, Junior League, Leftovers, and more, are dwindling. This is, in part, because in the weeks prior to the outbreak, we had begun canceling visits and deliveries to limit the amount of exposure to our families.
Here are a couple of tangible ways you can help:
If you have ever considered making a financial donation to Highbanks, now is the time. Your donation will be used for groceries and other critical supplies.
Think about buying a little extra when you are shopping to support local and small businesses. A casserole from your local deli or Italian market, or even a box or something from M&M Food Market would be so gratefully received. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us when you want to drop off. I will be waiting at the door to pick up!
Consider creating a small craft box with puzzles, games, books, and activities, which will be distributed to single young Mama’s and kiddos (maybe you have a craft cupboard that is overflowing in your house?)
Lastly, and probably most importantly, help those of us who are working in essential services continue to support the vulnerable by staying home. We ask this so that when we need to visit a grocery store or pharmacy, the risk of being exposed and bringing it back to the families we support is decreased. This also helps us remain healthy so we can keep doing this work.
We are so grateful for all of you.
Highbanks Society, Executive Director