To Our Mission Continues Family,
The global spread of COVID-19 has led to unprecedented adjustments in our lives and livelihoods. The health and safety of our program participants, staff, supporters and community partners continues to be our top priority.
Last week, we committed to communicating early and often as the situation evolved, and I’d like to share our latest update:
I am grateful that as of this writing, no one in our immediate network including staff or program participants has notified us of having tested positive for COVID-19.
Additionally, in keeping with newly updated CDC guidance to cancel in-person gatherings of more than 50 people, TMC scheduled service projects and social events will be postponed for at least the next eight weeks. We will continue to evaluate the situation and our regional teams are working with local community partners to reschedule when prudent.
The outpouring of concern for each other and the communities where we work has been inspiring, but not surprising. I’ve seen the way our veterans come together in times of trial and crisis and I expect nothing less from this community of leaders. This pandemic is a game-changer, and our work in communities will have to change as well.
I know many of you are anxious to know what you can “do”—I share that feeling—we’re “doers”. It would be irresponsible to ask anyone to put themselves or others at risk—even unintentionally. To that end, here are some steps we’re taking to positively address this crisis given the circumstances:
- One of the most important things you can do for your community at this time is to stay home—especially if you’re ill or in a high risk category, minimize in-person contact with others, and recognize that social distancing is an effective approach to containing this virus.
- We are working diligently to determine available and safe ways for you to activate in support of local and individual volunteer opportunities with food banks, food delivery, shelters, and community centers. If you are healthy and at low risk you can find emerging local and individual volunteer opportunities at: https://go.missioncontinues.
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- In lieu of an in-person Earth Day national service campaign our team is sourcing ideas for how to continue serving while adhering to social distancing guidelines (i.e., park, beach and trail clean ups, tree planting, etc.) There are things we can all do as individuals or in small family groups that will have an enormous impact when accomplished at scale.
- We are acutely aware of the impact that social isolation can have on communities including on the veteran community. We have convened a team to explore ways to stay connected and healthy during this “new normal” of social isolation. I’m comforted to see how many of you have already self-organized virtual trivia nights, book clubs, and online support chats!
It will take a community wide effort to ensure everyone remains as healthy and safe as possible. One beautiful thing about The Mission Continues family is that you’re never alone. We are here to support you and look forward to better understanding how we can do that during this uncertain time. I believe that if we work together, the ingenuity and compassion of our veterans will—once again—serve as an important example to the rest of the country.
Mary Beth Bruggeman
President, The Mission Continues