In the last blog I wrote I talked a little bit about the challenges I was finding blogging through the pandemic. How do I talk about this experience that is completely universal and yet so deeply personal? Although every one of us will be impacted by it, we will not feel it the same, largely depending on the circumstances we are in.
We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm – (@Damian_Barr)
I often think of Klinic as a ship of sorts so perhaps this make sense. Lately, we have been talking a lot about those who may not have access to safe boats, hammered by the storm. Those that this crisis is impacting the hardest, physically and emotionally. We have been talking about how we ensure our ship can offer safe harbour.
It is not easy work turning a ship quickly, offering supports and services in new ways almost every other week, and watch more and more options shutting down. What I want to share is, I have truly never seen anything like it. I am in awe of our capacity to shift when we need to. I want to talk specifically about two examples, but I also want to honour the work that everyone is doing at Klinic everyday, in every facet of our care.
I first want to talk about our Crisis Services, which answer between 100 – 130 calls a day, and on busier days, up to 160, operating 24/7, 365 days per year. Staffed by a combination of staff and volunteers, this team has been heavily impacted by the pandemic. Stay at home orders and reduced capacity for training and spacing has led to an almost fifty percent drop in our volunteer workforce. This heavily impacts the remaining staff and volunteers. On top of it, we have asked a lot of these folks (and others across our organization) this year, with a relocation and major upgrades in our phone system, followed by new distancing protocols, we have gone through lots of new learning curves and challenges to work through.
Yet they are superstars. They keep showing up, helping us, and most importantly, helping the people that rely on them, get through all these changes. I know it is difficult for them to know that we are not answering a significant amount of calls, though some of this is not new, however, but new knowledge we have gained through a modern phone system. The reality is, the need only grows.
The second thing I want to talk about is our new expanded services. As noted more and more people in our community are not able to access services they need due to shut downs. Klinic worked with several of our MACH (Manitoba Association of Community Health) partners such as, Sexuality Education Resource Centre (SERC), Women’s Health Clinic, Nine Circles Community Health Centre and MFL Occupational Health Centre –to utilize Klinic as a hub to provide services to those people who need it most in the Downtown/West End areas. Our staff have worked incredibly hard and been extremely innovative in bringing this vision to reality in very short time. The largest change includes same day care for those in our community who need this. For more information you can visit Klinic’s Service Updates Resulting from COVID-19 here.
In thinking about how to talk about hope and the future, I would like to quote a colleague of mine from Ontario, Lynne Raskin, whom I have written about before. As I was preparing to write this Lynne sent out a holiday message that I felt I could not improve on.
As we enter this season of the solstice experiencing the darkest hours of the year, the light to navigate must come from all of us…illuminating what we could not see and lighting the way for each other. At this time, we each engage in traditional celebrations of light which show us the path that we are invited to walk, side by side.
And as we keep our loved ones close, we must reach out in kindness to others as we move into 2021 making time for joy, appreciation, struggle, hope and gratitude…..while we work for what is just and are resolutely intolerant of what is not.
Celebrating the solstices is a long tradition at Klinic. As we go into the longest night, we also get ever closer to the longest day. I am hopeful that by then we will be able to once again gather together in the light.
With gratitude to all our staff, volunteers and supporters. If you would like to help support our crisis services visit our end of year campaign, inspiring hope