The Disappearance of Volunteering

This week was a week of thing falling apart. Ok, maybe not falling apart, but shutting down, with speed I could not imagine. It’s true that two weeks ago we lived in a different country and a different world.

We were ordered to work from home last Thursday night. The four of us still showed up in the office on Friday, for a variety of reasons, including one co-worker who was off on Thursday and didn’t check corporate emails:).

I wrote about the rapid museums and cultural venues closers, which followed. I was able to catch “the last of” most of them. And no matter how much my mind can understand the necessity of closers, my soul weeps.

As I’ve already mentioned, I went to escort last Saturday. It didn’t go great, and I promised to return when it is warmer. A woman with two boys stopped her car by the clinic and came out with a huge box of Girl Scout cookies – that’s for you guys! Each of us picked one:).

The next week, sign up sheet was up as usual on Sunday morning, and then on Wednesday, our team lead sent us an email that, due to the “not more than ten” restrictions, our shifts are reduced to a maximum of four, and some shifts are eliminated. The clinics said they wouldn’t allow companions inside anymore, and the number of patients inside at any given moment was limited to five.

The new sign-up was put up only to be taken down two days later when the Governor announced the state-wide “shelter on place.” No more volunteering. The Midwest Access coalition hosting was not officially shut down, but the last message I saw in the Signal group was on March 10. That means that people are not coming, either of fear or because of restrictions. And I guess when two days ago there was a ban on elective medical procedures, it applied to abortions as well … I do not want to think about it, and I am afraid to ask. But I will probably ask today.

A hope the although all workdays in the Forest Preserve are officially canceled, we can still do weed scouting when it becomes warmer. We are allowed to go for walks, so we can pretend we are just walking:).

Overall, all volunteering is considered to be non-essential – that’s what the email from the Night Ministry said. I a horrified to think about this big group of residents who left the shelter at the beginning of February, with new hopes for their new lives. One of them was proudly telling me that he got a real job at McCormick Place … With all the cancelations, he had no chances to stay there for more than two weeks.

Again, do not take me wrong – I understand that the only way at the moment are drastic measures, but I can’t stop thinking about real people being affected. Many things could be done differently.

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