As the CEO of a non-profit that can’t shut down, Sholom’s Barb Klick been doing everything from her normal day-to-day work to serving food to residents and taking employees’ temperatures as they come and go from their shift.
But as the Sholom East and West resident buildings in St. Paul and St. Louis Park have stopped bringing in programs and allowing visitors, Klick and Sholom’s board of directors have realized that there was a need to help.
“At the beginning, we were so focused on maintaining perimeter and keeping people outside,” Klick said. “But we axed all the programs, couldn’t have people coming in and out, and the residents and tenants had their world turned upside down.”
The Sholom board has put together a wish list of items that people can donate, which can help give residents comfort and entertainment. There are Amazon Wish Lists for both Shaller East Campus and Ackerberg West Campus. (As a note, if you purchase something from either wish list, the donor may need to select the shipping address. Both campus addresses are on there, so just be sure you choose the correct campus.)
“We asked the residents what their needs were, and how we can make their lives more pleasant,” said Klick. “But then we had to transition to the staff because it’s been hard on them too. If we serve the employees too, they’ll feel good and want to come in.”
Sholom board member Layne Rosen said that the staff are becoming like family to the residents and tenants who can’t have their own relatives visit.
“I’ve talked to some tenants and they’re lonely,” she said. “Family has to wave at them from the outside or do FaceTime with them. More than ever, we’re trying to help them stay busy so their mind isn’t so isolated.”
Klick said that so far, Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis has donated a carload of puzzles and games, and some else had donated new iPads. There are donation bins set up and both Sholom East and West, and someone had put cloth masks in for the staff.
“It’s hard but what can you do?” Klick said. “We have people who depend on us and a community that depends on us. That’s the mission. It’s a calling. That’s why we come here.”
Any questions about donations can be sent to Barb Gutzmann for the Shaller East Campus and to Sammi White for the Ackerberg West Campus. As well, Sholom has set up an emergency fund for COVID19 specific donations here.