I would like to start off by emphasizing how grateful I am to be part of the JHS community. I have watched every member of our organization come together to support each other and those we serve through the events of the last few weeks, and as we navigate, together, the constantly evolving situations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank our staff, volunteers, service users and their loved ones, home share providers, board members, donors, funders, supporters, community partners, and others integral to the JHS for their unwavering commitment to keeping our community healthy and safe during this challenging time.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not one that can be fought by governments, politicians, or those in a position of power alone; it requires us all as a global community to play our part, and I am so proud of the ways in which each and every member of the JHS community is doing what they can to help us prevent and reduce the spread of the virus.
This is a situation that this generation has not faced before. This is a difficult and fast-paced environment that we find ourselves in, but I want to assure you that we are all in this together and we at the JHSLM are wholly committed to continuing to serve our communities’ most vulnerable people while also keeping our staff and communities safe.
We recognize the programs and services that we provide are essential to the people we serve. We are committed to continue delivering as many of our programs and services as possible, while keeping the health and safety of our staff teams and service users as our top priority.
We are working closely with our funders and following the recommendation of provincial and federal health authorities to ensure that this is achievable.
At times like these, it is essential for us as an organization to ensure that our steps forward are rooted in our core values. For us at the JHSLM, this, in consideration with the mandates and recommendations provided to us by our funders, government, community partners, and leading health experts, makes our ongoing direction clear. With the exception of the drop-in functions of our Vancouver Community Services office, JHS services are still running.
We are exploring creative service delivery options wherever necessary to do our part in flattening the curve of this virus, and may have limited or modified services during the COVID-19 crisis as a result. That being said,
We will continue doing everything we can to provide our service users with the support that they need through this unprecedented time.
As an important measure in doing our part to help flatten the curve and eliminate any potential spread of COVID-10, we had to make the difficult decision to temporarily close our Vancouver Community Services office as an important measure in doing our part to eliminate any potential spread of COVID-19. While our drop-in programming is temporarily closed, our team at the CSO will continue to be available to community members in need of support online and over the phone.
We will continue to closely follow the mandates and recommendations of our funders, as well as federal, provincial and local governments, and will share community-wide updates on our programs and services as they become available.
Our sincerest thanks for the support that we have and continue to receive.
I would also like to take the time to thank all of you who continue to offer your support over the course of these challenging weeks. We are truly humbled and deeply moved by the volunteers, staff, board members, donors, family members of our service users, funders and supporters who have all reached out with offerings of support.
Thank you to our generous donors – your donations are being redirected to support our most vulnerable service users through this epidemic by providing them with essential items that they would otherwise have limited or no access to. Thank you to our amazing staff, volunteers, and board of directors for going above and beyond in exemplifying our core values in everything that you’re doing to assist vulnerable community members across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. Thank you to our funders and community partners for working collaboratively with us as we all work together to guide our sector through this.
Whether you’ve donated money, time, essential resources, or have provided us with words of encouragement, thank you so much for stepping up and offering your help during this time of need so that we can continue to keep our focus and attention on assisting vulnerable community members in their day-to-day life, and through the rising challenges that they have, and will continue to face due to COVID-19. All of your support instills me with hope as we navigate through this adversity.
Each day brings new experiences as we strive to meet the constantly shifting realities that has become our daily lives and work. But I am confident that together, we can meet these challenges head on in our continued effort to build a safe, healthy, and inclusive community for all.
Together, we can help reduce the risk for our service users, employees, volunteers, and our communities. Thank you for everything you are doing to support the most vulnerable during this time.
Chief Executive Officer,
The John Howard Society of the Lower Mainland