Interfaith check 1
Featured Story Written by Breann Lujan-Halcon

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

As coro­n­avirus con­tin­ues to dis­rupt near­ly every aspect of every­day lives, we have seen an enor­mous growth of community.

While prac­tic­ing safe phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing, Larami­gos have turned to social media groups to pro­mote local busi­ness­es, offer resources and ensure that their neigh­bors are tak­en care of.

At Ivin­son, we want­ed to show our sup­port for the com­mu­ni­ty that sup­ports us. Ted Fritz, senior direc­tor of Facil­i­ties Man­age­ment, with the help of our Dietary team, orga­nized a fundrais­er to do exact­ly that. The team orga­nized an employ­ee fundrais­er to ben­e­fit Inter­faith Good Samar­i­tan and, last week, donat­ed $3,805 to sup­port the Laramie community. 

We felt that we were in a posi­tion to help,” Ted said. Inter­faith helps so many peo­ple in our com­mu­ni­ty every day, pro­vid­ing food and assis­tance to any­one that needs it. We come to work every day with the same goal –to help peo­ple– and we want­ed to help them.”

By sell­ing piz­zas, 50/50 raf­fle tick­ets and ask­ing for out­right dona­tions, the dietary team spurred into action. In a two week peri­od, they sold 85 piz­zas, sell­ing out the first week before restock­ing for more sales.

Every dol­lar donat­ed to Inter­faith was donat­ed from the pock­ets of Ivin­son employ­ees in an effort to sup­port our com­mu­ni­ty,” Ted said. That’s what mat­ter most in times like these, help each oth­er and help local busi­ness­es. We are going to have to lean on each oth­er in these tough times so that we can all come out of this stronger.” 

Interfaith’s Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, Mike Ver­cauteren, reports that the biggest impact they have seen from COVID-19 is a wel­come one. 

The biggest impact is the response from the com­mu­ni­ty,” Mike said. We have so many peo­ple vol­un­teer­ing. A lot of peo­ple want to help, a lot of peo­ple feel com­pelled to help. It reflects on our com­mu­ni­ty, we are lucky to be here.”

For the team at Inter­faith, com­mu­ni­ty need remains steady and the orga­ni­za­tion con­tin­ues to piv­ot to meet the needs of com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers while prac­tic­ing safe­ty pre­cau­tions. This includes a dri­ve up food pantry and mov­ing many of their process­es online or via telephone. 

Speak­ing with oth­er non­prof­its in town, there’s a con­sen­sus that peo­ple are doing what they need to be doing. Peo­ple are iso­lat­ing,” Mike said. The eco­nom­ic reper­cus­sions are going to be a lot longer last­ing than the virus. We are man­ag­ing now, but with the num­ber of peo­ple unem­ployed, we know it is going to increase and we are brac­ing for impact.”

Inter­faith is antic­i­pat­ing the long last­ing effects of COVID-19 and is prepar­ing to find a new nor­mal. For Mike, he hopes that the grow­ing sense of com­mu­ni­ty is some­thing that is car­ried into post-coro­n­avirus times.

I miss nor­mal but in a way I don’t. The way peo­ple are car­ing for each oth­er and reach­ing out and spread­ing kind­ness – I hope we can make that the new post-pan­dem­ic nor­mal.

If you are inter­est­ed in vol­un­teer­ing or lend­ing a hand, please vis­it laramiein​ter​faith​.org to find ways to get involved. 

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