Things are starting to look a little more “normal” here at St. Matthews Maryland – the West End outreach site of 1JustCity.
When COVID first erupted, we had no choice but to suspend most of our supportive programs. But we had no intention of abandoning our community entirely! So, fully masked, goggled, and gowned, we continued to provide food service at our door for the first months of the pandemic. Where our drop-in normally sees 60 or 70 people in a day, those days saw up to 150 people each day coming to our door for food!
Luckily we had enjoyed incredible support from a wide variety of individuals, churches, and businesses. With your help we were able to meet the increased demand.
Though providing food is an important service, at a deeper level St. Matthews Maryland is truly about building relationships and safe community for folk who don’t enjoy that elsewhere in their life. We really missed that part of our work in the early days of the pandemic, when we felt more like a food line than anything else. But one thing that was really encouraging was seeing how our friends in this community responded to the pandemic. People were patient and generous. They took care of each other. They followed safety guidelines and social distanced when they were lining up for food. Instead of panic, we saw smiles and gratitude.
A pandemic is exactly the kind of time when a strong community is needed most! So it was totally fulfilling to see how this community banded together. It confirmed for us that what we are doing in this community is working.
We are currently in the process of a slow re-opening; reintroducing some of our programs in a safe way, with social distancing protocols in place. We will continue to build relationships and strong community here, so that everyone in this community knows that no matter what COVID throws at us next: We can handle it together!
Thank-you for helping to build a resilient community of support in the West End.
Written by Josh Ward - Community Facilitator at 1JustCity's West End location St Matthews Maryland Community Ministry