HOPE plans emergency response to COVID-19

by Special to the Cherokeean

The Board of Directors and staff of HOPE would like the community to be aware of proactive measures that are being taken at HOPE due to COVID-19.
HOPE will follow the lead of the city of Jacksonville and other entities in Jacksonville and postpone any non-essential gatherings until further notice. Any cancellations or updates will be posted on HOPE’s social media accounts, including: Twitter at HOPE_Jville; Facebook at @hope.jacksonville; and Instagram at hope.jacksonville. Our social media accounts will also follow and post relevant information on COVID-19 as it becomes available. We are monitoring the situation closely and HOPE will work together with all federal, state, local health authorities, non-profits, the City of Jacksonville, and the private sector to keep the best interest of the Cherokee County community in mind.

HOPE will continue to provide all essential services as normal and these include: Clinic of HOPE; Manna Pantry; Prescription Assistance Program; Transportation; Backpack Program; Kitchen of HOPE; Brown Bag Program; Rx Exercise and Nutrition Program; Produce Program and the East Texas Workforce Programs. Volunteers are welcome and are in great need at this moment.

As per our year-round policy, if you are not feeling well, please wait until you are better to volunteer with us. For social distancing, we are asking clients to have only one representative from each household receive food or other services as to be able to decrease the number of people and interactions.

If possible, other family members should wait in their cars or outside away from others.

Hope will continue normal days and hours of operation which are Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a 30-minute lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m. at which time we are closed. Hope is striving to increase our capacity for new clients to sign up and returning clients to renew online and by phone in order to increase productivity and decrease the time a client spends in the office. These systems will be in place by Monday, March 23.

In order to reduce the foot traffic into HOPE, the Kitchen of HOPE will not be serving a hot meal but will have sack lunches available at the door entry to the Kitchen of HOPE for each person who needs one, Monday to Thursday from 11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. The Clinic of HOPE is open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m, by appointment at (903) 586-7781 for clients needing preventive care or care for a chronic health issue and who have no insurance or are underinsured.

Those persons who have flu-like symptoms will not be seen at the Clinic and the Clinic does not test for COVID-19 or the flu. The HOPE van will be available as normal.

HOPE will continue to follow CDC Guidelines concerning COVID-19.
These additional prevention measures are being used in addition to our year-round daily cleaning measures: sanitizing common surface areas every two hours including door hardware, tables, seats, etc.; communicating to volunteers and staff to stay home if sick; and continual review of pandemic guidelines. HOPE also continues to enforce our year-round volunteer policies, such as: volunteers wearing nitrite gloves during repackaging activities; enforcing hand-washing procedures at clock-in, breaks and clock-out; and actively reject any volunteers who demonstrate flu-like symptoms. HOPE follows and will continue to follow the volunteer guidelines of the East Texas Food Bank which are found at www.easttexasfoodbank.org.

The mission of the HOPE is to provide emergency assistance to those in need, and to give them the tools and resources that promote self-sufficiency by pooling resources that assists through a networking system designed to prevent duplication of services.

In 2019, 1500 volunteers donated over 8000 hours to help us provide: 11,700 Cherokee County residents with food in our Manna Pantry; 341 Brown Bags of food to our neighbors who are homebound; 13,500 home cooked meals in our Kitchen of HOPE; 4,600 miles transporting our neighbors; 3,685 Backpacks to JISD students; 35 neighbors helped with PAAP; 56 neighbors with emergency dental care; 1,200 with fresh produce outreach; and health services to 217 patients in the Clinic of HOPE.

For questions or more information please email: ed@hopecenter.info; visit our website: Hopecenter.info; or call (903) 589-7781.

Please read our full statement regarding HOPE’s Emergency Response to COVID-19 at http://bit.ly/ResponseofHope. To donate visit our Facebook page http://Facebook.com/hope.jacksonville or our website http://hopecenter.info. Donations during this critical time or at any time are greatly appreciated and sustains the work of HOPE in our community.