NCO’s quarantine food program gives comfort to Mendocino County community – The Willits News
As the county fell dormant with COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, volunteers in the quarantine relief program began to act. A coordinated effort between Mendocino County and North Coast Opportunities, the quarantine program aims to comfort low-income people in mandatory quarantines, either due to exposure to the virus or a positive COVID test result.
Using contact tracers to identify those in need of quarantine services, the county’s Disaster Operations Center connects the client with NCO. The service has recruited a host of volunteers who continue to deliver food provided by the Ukiah Food Bank, as well as welcome supplies and necessities to those facing quarantine.
“We were running all over the county! Comments Lenore Flanders, the program assistant who took over the project in November 2020 – amid the massive holiday wave. Program volunteers are constantly on call, ready to deliver food, essentials, prescriptions and requests. Those in quarantine would contact the county health department with their requests and NCO volunteers would deliver them quickly. Flanders notes how easy it was to find volunteers for the program.
“This necessary service was something anyone with a vehicle and time could do; no special equipment or training is required, ”says program volunteer Charlie Kelly. “I was encouraged to see that every delivery requested (large or small) provided real necessities, whether it was cleaning or sanitizing supplies, always nutritious groceries, diapers and even water in some cases. “
Along with the gradual increase in cases in the second half of 2020 and the increase in the new year, project coordinators and volunteers have found the new landscape increasingly complex to navigate – but not impossible.
“What has impressed me time and time again is the incredible and efficient teamwork of the staff at NCO. They took action in such well-coordinated efforts to provide these families with what they needed most, ”Flanders recalls.
About 4,500 people in Mendocino County have been isolated (according to the county’s most recent case data). Each family in quarantine has undoubtedly faced its own challenges.
“I remember talking on the phone with a young man who was nervous about the well-being of his family after contracting the virus,” says Flanders. “It was easy to see the very personal effects quarantine has on the individual through the conversation; and how important it is to provide as much comfort as possible to those undergoing quarantine. “
The vulnerable state of those in quarantine is of great concern to the community. Flanders thinks this is the main reason for such explosive support from the volunteers. “The thoughts that dominate my actions are that I am happy to be there for those in need,” says volunteer Becky Parsons. “I live very far from my own family and friends at the moment and it is good to know that there is someone there who will support you in case you cannot do the groceries for your own family or yourself. deliver medical prescriptions. “
Parsons has elderly family members who struggle to take care of themselves and whom she often thinks of when she volunteers.
“I firmly believe that by giving to your community and helping others, there will be someone who will do the same for those I love in case I can’t be there,” Parsons remarks.
Although the program has seen some decrease in the number of calls as the number of cases steadily declined thanks to COVID-19 vaccines in the spring and early summer, volunteers are still available. As of now, with the new Delta variant creating a substantial rise in the number of cases among the unvaccinated, another period of lively volunteer engagement is underway.
“The program reminds me of the kindness of human beings,” says Flanders. “We are there for each other. It’s nice.”
For those in need of quarantine assistance, call the Mendocino County Public Health Department at (707) 472-2759 and the request will be directed to the Quarantined Families Food Program. You can find more information about NCO support at ncoinc.org.