Dear Plummer Community,
I hope you are well during this uncertain and unsettling time. I’m sure many of you are feeling the strain of this unprecedented situation in a wide variety of ways and I wish you well-being as we all navigate these uncharted territories.
One of the greatest joys of working at Plummer is the opportunity to observe the determination, compassion and resilience of the Plummer staff and the young people and families we serve. In recent days, these qualities have been vividly apparent as staff have worked tirelessly to figure out how best to ensure the safety of the young women and men we serve while also continuing our relentless drive to get them back to family.
Indeed, at a challenging time like this, when most of us lean heavily on family, the importance of Plummer’s mission to make sure all young people have families becomes crystal clear. This work remains our top priority, and while there are obstacles, we will continue to connect kids with the people who love and support them even if that means finding ways to make it happen virtually when it can’t happen in person.
Another joy of working at Plummer is all of you. Many of you have reached out to check on us, and that is comforting. Below is a brief update on how things are going. You have also asked how you can help, so I’ve provided information about that below as well as in this list of actions you can take right now.
The young people who reside at our Salem location are currently out of school and are collectively practicing social distancing from the outside world. We cannot welcome outside visitors, and all non-essential staff are working remotely. Our residential staff, some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met, is working relentlessly to ensure that our kids are happy, safe, and engaged. They’ve been spending time playing basketball, doing puzzles, playing games, and having ping pong tournaments while trying to manage their own apprehension about current events. They are virtually connected to their friends and family thanks to our strong internet connection. Having the kids home all day, every day has unexpected financial implications, and we would appreciate cash donations, food delivery, and gift card donations. We also would appreciate any creative, engaging virtual activities such as guitar lessons, exercise opportunities, etc. to keep the kids engaged, learning, and entertained.
The young men and women in our community apartments are especially vulnerable during this crisis. They live alone in one bedroom and studio apartments and thus are at a higher risk of the distress inherent in social isolation. Some have been forced to stop college classes and no longer have access to laptops that could help them stay connected with friends and family. Others have had their work hours cut or lost their jobs, creating stress about their ability to pay bills. Our social workers continue to visit with them to try to help them manage this extraordinary strain in the absence of family.
Our foster families are also facing financial hardships. Parents are losing jobs and are facing difficult situations when it comes to childcare. Here again, our staff are helping to support.
We have created an Emergency Relief Fund to provide immediate support to our most vulnerable youth and families, and to help Plummer continue to do permanency work during this public health crisis. Funds will be used to meet direct needs, like paying utility bills for young adults, helping with groceries, enabling youth to stay connected through technology and so much more. The truth is, we are not yet aware of the needs that are going to arise as this situation unfolds.
Plummer is so lucky to have you as part of our community. Thank you for being there for our young people. Having family to rely in is more important now than ever- thank you for helping to make that possible for the young kids in our care.
With gratitude and well-wishes for you and your family,