CARE/ The John 3:16 Center in Littleton is adapting the programs it offers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, its executive director said.
“The impact on families unable to stock up and hold tight must be considered in a regard for our shared respect and love for neighbors,” Shannon McAllister said in a statement. “Businesses and organizations across the country are modifying how they may continue to provide essential services to those in need.”
The center operates Warren, Halifax and Northampton counties and McAllister has had ongoing sessions with her team to ensure continued essential services are provided.
The center is the location for CARE — Child Abuse Resource and Education — and has always been the location for most of the programs offered to support and empower families.
The programs include those such as the Wired for Success afterschool program, emergency food pantry, stock the classroom school supply drive for schools, playground, and sponsored events.
All of that has changed, she said. “The staff is adapting how essential services are delivered to the families they serve in a manner that is complying to social distancing and stay in place orders.”
The center is recognized as an essential service provider.
The building is currently closed to the public. Staff may work remotely, and limited staff is on-site and well-spaced apart for an abbreviated number of hours each day.
The following modifications have been made to ensure essential services are still available to families in need:
Emergency Food Pantry — Families in need should call the center to set an appointed time for pick up or delivery.
Food boxes will be put together according to household size.
If a family member is out for essential purposes and can include a stop at the center to pick up, let the staff person know when making the appointment.
The box will be prepared prior to the arrival of the recipient and the box will be placed on a table on the porch of the center for the driver to grab and go.
If someone is unable to pick up the food box, it will be delivered to the family and left on their porch as well.
Wired for Success — The afterschool program was for students to gather from area schools to get homework completed, engage in faith-based activities and enjoy a healthy snack.
The staff has taken to social media to share a daily devotion on the John 3:16 Center Facebook page.
They have put together activity packets and snack packs. To encourage family fun time, board games and craft kits are being given away as well. Call the office to arrange.
Easter Egg Drop — An idea to bring some joy to kids during this time by dropping off at doorsteps a bag of Easter egg hunt supplies for families.
For the center it is also intended to encourage some semblance of tradition used to teach children about the holiday as an honored celebration that is central to the foundation of beliefs within faith communities.
Camp J316 — The summer camp program is also being modified to go virtual in case the virus threat extends into the regular camp season.
Plans are being made to offer camp experiences virtually using Facebook Live and other digital platforms. The preparations include securing the needed devices, such as tablets, headphones and hotspots for the campers.
Some of the proposed activities will include interactive cooking and craft lessons all done online.
Playground — Will reopen when officials deem the transmission of the virus remaining on surfaces is no longer a threat to the health and well-being of its users.
The month of April is Child Abuse Prevention month. “You can expect to see a display of blue pinwheels on the grounds of the center and hopefully across America as a reminder of the need to protect children from abuse by promoting and nurturing healthy relationships in our communities.”
The center’s Facebook page has ideas about positive parenting.
“The doors of the center are temporarily closed but methods to adapt are ongoing to ensure the outreach in the communities continues,” McAllister said.