The Mission Continues responds to COVID-19


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, and we remain focused on driving impact while adjusting to the realities that COVID-19 presents. Our work is ongoing, and this page will be continually updated as we remain nimble and shift according to world events.

During this time, we need your generosity more than ever to continue our work serving in communities. Please consider a donation to support our work:

Current Update - May 22, 2020

We have formed a cross-functional task force that will work with local sites and community partners to ensure these seven elements are addressed, communicated and observed for each and every project:

  • Touchless Online Registration: We will require all volunteers to complete a registration online or on their phones to minimize the need to queue up or to interact with registration staffers.
  • Limiting Capacity: In accordance with local guidelines for in-person gatherings, we will cap registration to limit crowding and enforce physical distancing.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: All participants will be asked to bring personal face coverings and gloves. We will supply those items where we are able.
  • Physical Distancing: All service opportunities will be held at sites that allow for physical distancing. We will keep family units together, and ensure that solo volunteers are provided ample space—no less than 6’ apart—to serve alongside others.
  • Clean Tools: We are cleaning and sanitizing our tools before and after each use.
  • Hygiene Stations: All project sites will have identified stations for handwashing and/or available hand sanitizer to accommodate volunteers.
  • Safety Officers: All Mission Continues projects will have dedicated safety representatives to ensure volunteers have the equipment they need, and that physical distance and PPE guidelines are being followed.

Don’t forget: Our community partners are already leading recovery efforts in some of the hardest hit cities across the country. Our team has launched #ThankItForward in an effort to recognize their contributions. To join us in supporting this effort, please click here to send a note of encouragement to these hometown heroes.

We are continuing to connect veterans and volunteers across the country through hosting and scheduling social events that range from movie nights, game nights, and book club gatherings. We’re also working to prevent unnecessary social isolation and ensure that veterans are connected to the resources they need.

Mental Health Resources

Take care of you, your loved ones and each other. Stay home as much as you can. Veterans are among the most trusted groups in society—lead by example for others in your community. Practice radical self-care so that you will be sharp, focused, and healthy when you are once again called to serve on the front lines. We know that you are not alone in feeling stressed, confused and at times—even discouraged. We all know veterans can be reluctant to ask for help. Ask your network what they need, and ask for help if you need it.

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 distancing. We’ve already seen our veteran leaders self-organize to maintain opportunities to stay connected to each other. We are excited to share those examples as they arise—so please let us know if you have done virtual gatherings that have worked.

Here are some resources for self-care and looking after your own well-being during this time:

Try these options to connect with people while still practicing social distancing:

  • Video chat with your family & friends—you can use a system like Zoom or Google Hangouts, FaceTime, or Houseparty. Want ideas of what to talk about?
    • Set up a group call with your closest friends while eating dinner
    • Read a picture book to young kids in your family
    • Host a virtual trivia night like the New York Platoon did
    • Form up a book club
    • Gather for a happy hour—with or without alcohol!
    • Play a video game together
  • Ask questions / share tips in your local TMC Facebook group
  • Encourage friends & neighbors to set up a Slack or join your community on Nextdoor — or even call them!
  • Watch a movie on Netflix Party



SERVE YOUR COMMUNITY

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. But all that being said, there are still ways you can serve your community.

Our Platoon leaders are displaying the resilience and adaptability we’ve come to expect during challenging times. While in-person gatherings are on hold, Platoons are using this time to prepare for future service projects. We’re currently working on available and safe ways for you to activate in support of local and individual volunteer opportunities (that are mindful of social distancing), and if you are healthy and at low risk, and will update those here as they appear. If you have an idea, please share it with us! We’d love to highlight it.

Check out the Database of Localized Resources During Corona Outbreak for local mutual-aid groups near you.

There are things we can all do as individuals or in small family groups that will have an enormous impact when accomplished at scale. Look for ways to support your neighbors and your neighborhood. You can start with these ideas:

  • Participate in a virtual service project.The under-resourced communities where we work are disproportionately impacted by healthcare shortages and economic downturns. They need our help now and will need it in the future. Our Service Platoons are fostering seedlings to plant in community gardens, ensuring that all communities have access to fresh, safe and healthy food. We’re also encouraging solo treks to clean up parks, trails and communities across the county. Connect with a local platoon to learn more about how you can help.
  • Seek opportunities to support essential services. If you’re healthy and low-risk, many food banks, pantries and food distribution services, as well as blood banks are considered mission critical (and therefore exempt from stay at home orders) and in need of individuals to donate and serve as volunteers. You can also visit Points of Light to learn more about virtual volunteerism.
  • Thank a healthcare provider, a teacher, a grocery store clerk, and your local food bank. Veterans are used to being thanked for our service, but this is not our fight. Say thank you, and continue to say thank you long after this crisis has passed. Say thank you with your words, and say thank you with your actions. Keep them safe by staying home.
  • To support their Operation Green Thumb partner, Boise 1st platoon hosted a video-streamed project where members can learn how to plant and care for “foster” seedlings, which can later be transported to the local elementary school garden. In Washington, DC, Platoon Leader David Dubois filmed and shared a DIY video on Facebook to teach others how to grow, and when to plant, herb and vegetable seedlings at home, that can then be planted in a local community garden.
  • Build a Little Free Library
  • Build a Mobile Market Unit inspired by the ones the Orlando Platoons built for local schools
  • California Volunteers has put together a great list of how to check in with your neighbors
  • Rake leaves for a neighbor
  • Pick up groceries for someone who can’t leave the house or run errands



Other Resources

Here are other resources that you might find helpful—from career opportunities to how to entertain your kids at home.

Career

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs is hiring 5,000 medical personnel across the country at over 150 locations to help immediately address COVID-19. Physician Assistants (PA), Registered Nurses (RN), Nurse Practitioners (NP), Nursing Assistants, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA), Student Nurse Trainees (SNT), Intermediate Care Technician (ICT) and Health Technicians are encouraged to apply. In addition, both prior service enlisted and officer medical personnel, as well as Medics and Corpsmen, should apply. If you needed a sign to help serve again and possibly save lives, this is it. To apply and learn more, check out: www.vacareers.va.gov or www.usajobs.gov and enter the following job codes: 563752700, 563752000, 563843200, 563878400, 563871100, 563903200, 564000600, and 563921800.
  • Laid Off Due to Coronavirus? Here’s What You Can Do Now
  • Grow With Google has resources for Veterans and Military Families to assist in finding jobs and growing skills.

Children and Family


Program Updates

  • We recently surveyed veterans across our network to assess how they’re coping with challenges related to COVID.
  • Federal guidelines for social distancing measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 have expired as of April 30, and will not be extended at the national level at this time. As states and municipalities begin to adjust stay-at-home measures, we will be guided by local health officials to determine when is the best time to re-engage to support the needs in our communities.

    Through this very trying time, you have remained optimistic, focused and committed to helping others and we can’t wait to get back out to see you and serve alongside you when it is safe to do so. Fostering connections across our team, veterans and communities brings us joy. The impact we make collectively is the lifeblood of our mission—it is critical work in support of under-resourced communities across the country. Thankfully, in many communities where we operate, COVID-19 indicators seem to be “trending down,” but the care and social distancing practices we’ve been following are still needed to assure they do not spike again. We will be activating in communities as soon as it is safe and when we can ensure proper personal protective measures, protocols and trainings are in place and followed.

    We are adopting a phased approach to re-engage with our community work—one that adheres to strong local guidelines for safety and physical distancing.

  • Our staff is not immune to the stressors COVID-19 has inflicted on the world. We held our annual all-team retreat this week over Zoom. While nothing replaces the joy we share during our in-person time, we prioritized connecting in new ways, made time for levity and creativity and took the time to love on each other. Our goal was to refill our reserves so that we can better serve our mission. We know we have to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of the ones who will need us most in the future.
  • Our platoon leadership network has now activated to perform almost 3,000 virtual buddy checks with platoon members across the country. Get connected with veterans in your community here.
  • In honor of Earth Day, hundreds of volunteers from across the nation overcame the challenges of distance to make a positive impact on the planet. Our Earth Day initiatives proved so successful, that we’re continuing many of those efforts throughout the coming months. Stay tuned!
  • After carefully weighing the decision to move forward with hosting our 2020 Mass Deployment in Houston this June, we have decided to postpone Operation Bayou City Blitz until November. We are grateful to our community partners, funders and other stakeholders for their flexibility and support as we finalize a new date for this fall. We look forward to this event every year and while this was a difficult decision to make, we’re doing our best, as this situation evolves, to balance critical needs of the community, the excitement and impact this event brings, with the safety of all involved. It is certainly apparent that the need for veteran leadership will be even more important in the coming weeks and months. If you have completed an application to be considered for a spot on our crew or as an ambassador—thank you, and a member of our Applicant Experience team will be in touch with you shortly.
  • While we were disappointed to have to cancel the final in-person gathering of our second cohort of the Service Leadership Corps, these leaders improvised and delivered their final capstone project virtually! We hosted 12 small groups in virtual presentations this week with teams from across the country. Projects ranged from helping a regional food bank in Dallas to scale their volunteer program, to creating and implementing an awareness campaign for a green-construction training program for Atlanta’s refugee population. See a brief highlight reel here and check out the virtual presentation experiences on our YouTube page.
  • In March, cohort of 67 women veterans of the Women Veterans Leadership Program engaged in a live virtual storytelling training to sharpen their communication skills The course introduced women veterans to the power of storytelling in society, the concept of the public narrative and how to focus their own leadership stories.