March 18, 2020 – With the cases of COVID-19 getting closer to the Rio Grande Valley, Good Neighbor Settlement House has created a plan that will offer the most benefit to our community of workers, volunteers and clients who may be impacted in the coming weeks and months. At this time, we will remain open, operating in accordance with our regular schedule for meals, showers and most other services. However, to minimize risks and position our organization to adequately address the needs of the community we serve, I propose we implement the following changes in our operation:
• Starting on Thursday, March 19th, GNSH will temporarily cease the preparation and serving of hot meals. Instead, we will provide bagged breakfast, lunch and dinner at the designated meal times Monday through Friday. We will continue to provide pantry bags to our homeless clients as regularly scheduled, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
• In accordance with the guidelines put forth by the City of Brownsville for large groups, we will be closing our gates at 9am so as to not have a place for more than the allotted number of people to gather. Our restroom will still be available at the normal times so that the community can have a safe, clean environment to live in. We will still have our shower program at the designated time, 7:30am-9:00am. By keeping our shower and change of clothes program operating we help them to maintain basic hygiene for our clients which will help limit the spread of any virus.
• Good Neighbor Settlement House has temporarily suspended NEW volunteer activities. We will rely on our longterm La Posada volunteers to continue our dinner program. We will also take all the known precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of our volunteers.
• In partnership with the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, GNSH will still be providing food assistance to our clients during their designated times.
• At our facilities, we have implemented additional hand washing and cleaning procedures for staff members, clients and volunteers and have added other sanitation measures to our already robust hygiene regimen. Our priority is keeping our staff, clients and volunteers healthy, while also ensuring continuity of operations for those in need of assistance.
As this is an evolving situation, we are following the lead of the City of Brownsville and Cameron County with regard to continued operations and will update you if anything changes and as soon as we can.
We are thankful for the support of our community, their continued encouragement, hard work and good wished. Good Neighbor Settlement House is committed to supporting the Brownsville community and in partnership with other organizations we will work to make sure the most vulnerable members of our community have the services they need during these challenging times.