2020 has certainly started out as a challenge for all of us. COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, has changed our lives, how we do business, and how we provide services. Here at the Arc Otsego, most of our sites are closed with the exception of our Creekside Industries and our residential homes. Creekside is providing some essential services and supplies to the community. We are helping Corning keep their ability to mass produce the test tubes used in the testing of COVID-19. We are supplying incontinent supplies to residences and hospitals. Unfortunately, those individuals enrolled in the training portion of Creekside are not allowed to participate in this essential work. Arc employees are stepping up to help when and where they are able.
Arc employees in our residential program are showing up each and every day to provide the supports and services the individuals need to remain healthy and socially distanced. I am sure you can imagine that is not an easy task. Many of the individuals we provide services to do not understand why they are staying home. They don’t understand the need to wash their hands and no more shaking hands, not to mention hugging. These DSPs and other employees are coming to work while thinking about their children that are at home since there is no school. they are putting themselves in harm’s way to help those people who live with us or need our supplies and services. We owe them our gratitude.
As I write this message to you, we do not have any positive test results for our individuals or employees. We know it is just a matter of time. Many of The Arc NY chapters in the downstate area are embroiled in an intense battle. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those workers. We are canceling the June Membership Annual Meeting in an effort to stay safe and healthy. We are hoping to reschedule for early fall. Watch for details.
March is typically the time of year that The Arc Otsego begins it’s membership drive – a drive that helps us with our efforts to advocate for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD) so they are not forgotten in the NYS legislative process. This year is more important than ever. We need to make sure that people with I/DD are not on the bottom of the list for respirators or hospital beds or when their caregivers need masks and gowns. It is important to show employees of The Arc Otsego that we see their jobs as essential – that they are our heroes! They deserve a living wage and good benefits. They are essential!
Please take a minute and join The Arc Otsego. Be a part of the many people supporting the work that we do and recognize the enormous strain on our systems as we battle this unseen enemy together. COVID-19 will not win! We will come out of this stronger, more efficient and more determined than ever.