“An unprecedented time” – this is the phrase we hear daily from our government and health leaders to describe the COVID-19 crisis. If asked to describe what an “unprecedented time” might look like before we ever heard of Coronavirus, my description would not have come close to our new reality. For many here in the United States, things we deemed challenges before COVID-19 were comparatively minor compared to the disruption in our current lives. Students are doing school work virtually from home, parents are working remotely from home and many have been furloughed creating economic stress. Churches are holding their services online, shopping for groceries on the internet has become the new norm. Here at SOS, things have changed drastically as well. We have pivoted our operations to focus on meeting health needs right here in our community. When established in 1993, our founder Dr. Norton Waterman, nor any subsequent leader at SOS would ever have anticipated that the a healthcare crisis needing help from SOS would be right here at home.
At SOS, our small team of eight is working tirelessly to process and prepare medical supplies to be donated in our local community. Prior to COVID-19, SOS was generous year-round with donations to local educational, animal welfare and social service organizations. Beginning six weeks ago, thousands of medical items have been deployed every week in our local community. We have provided critically needed supplies to University of Louisville, senior care facilities, Louisville Metro Police Department, home health aides and other nonprofits that are serving those in need. We have organized teams of volunteers, who normally would be here at SOS sorting medical supplies, to sew masks in the safety of their homes.
I spoke with my best friend from high school last night who lives in my hometown of New York City. The death toll is escalating and a city that never slept is shut down. It is surreal for those of us who know that city. Here in Kentucky, we had the benefit of seeing the COVID-19 impact in other states and took early steps to mitigate the impact. It is heartbreaking to hear the new statistics of confirmed cases and deaths each day here in our home state, but the steps we are all taking to social distance are making a difference! Let’s keep striving to help our neighbors by making the sacrifices needed.