Urban Ministries of Wake County engages our community to serve and advocate on behalf of those affected by poverty by providing food and nutrition, promoting health and wellness, and by laying the foundations of home. Founded in 1981, Urban Ministries of Wake County is based in Raleigh and is proud to serve all of Wake County.
What strides has your organization made towards achieving a more equitable society? What have been your lessons learned?
We really wouldn't be able to do what we do without our community partners. Our pantry has long relied on the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, Interfaith Food Shuttle, churches, and other community resources to help stock our food pantry. We have relied on volunteers to bring meals to the women we shelter at the Helen Wright Center for Women. There, we also partner with Wake County to make sure single, adult women experiencing homelessness have a bed to sleep in. We partner with Wake Tech to give them life skills classes, BB&T to bring them financial literacy workshops, and Personify to heal them with job readiness. We also partner with hospitals and Capital Care Collaborative to provide healthcare to uninsured adults with chronic conditions and to keep them out of the ER. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, our partners and businesses have stepped up greatly to donate more, give of their time, or to do things like bring free mobile COVID-19 testing to our building for some of Wake County's most vulnerable population.
How has your organization innovated or adapted to meet growing or changing demands placed on your organization?
We completely pivoted all of our services when the pandemic hit, not knowing really what outcome we might see, but we wanted to make sure our clients, staff, and volunteers were safe. We moved our client-choice pantry to curbside service, our clinic moved to telehealth visits, and our shelter ended up operating in three different locations in order to keep social distancing. What we saw was that we began feeding almost twice the number of people we would on a normal day, were able to see more patients in a day, and were able to safely keep women sheltered in place.