Crisis 'calls’ for communication among city leaders

Non-profits responding to pandemic in Montgomery

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - In order to effectively meet the needs of those in the community right now, communication between nonprofits, churches, city leaders, and county representatives is vital. Now a mass conference call is helping aid in the way Montgomery responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Realizing just how important communication is during this worldwide pandemic, the Concerned Community Providers Group was born. Over 150 city leaders will meet by conference call three separate times this week to discuss the continuing needs for those in the community.

Some people on that call include U.S. Sen. Doug Jones, Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed, Montgomery County commissioners and leaders who work alongside Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey.

According to several nonprofit organizations in the city, the group began with just a few people and within a few days grew into a mass coordinating effort.

“We are made aware through these calls what people are doing and what people need,“ said Mercy House Director of Operations Madison Darling. “The thing of value on these calls is that those of us who are running these organizations are able to advocate for our clients and we are able to be a voice with policy makers and official representatives directly."

It’s because of this mass phone call that some amazing work is being done in Montgomery and across the River Region.

“All of the food pantries or food banks or people who serve lunches have switched to to-go meals, and when that first happened, you know, we were all on the call saying we need to-go containers, we need individually wrapped utensils and then we had people on the call contact mass suppliers and then get people together to purchase that and donate it,” Darling said.

The Salvation Army and Friendship Mission, who serve food to the homeless, were lucky enough to receive a generous donation of to-go containers from Genpak Montgomery and Genpak Hope Hull. Both donated 12,000 to-go containers to be split between the two organizations.

“We said this is getting expensive and before we could blink Genpak Montgomery donated 12,000 containers and then Genpak Hope Hull turned around and donated another 12,000,” said Friendship Mission Executive Director Tara Davis.

Another issue resolved over the call was the need for internet access to children doing school online in public housing.

“At that point, we talked about it and then the cable company stepped up at that point and started offering internet access in those government house,“ said Mercy House Executive Director Ken Austin.

Overall, advocates say collective and consistent communication has been extremely beneficial.

“This is something that will allow us to talk to each other more in the future. Better communication has definitely come out of this crisis,” said Davis.

The conference call is open to the public if you are interested in joining in on the call you are encouraged to email Madison Darling at madison@mercyhousemgm.org .

Below are links to donate to some of the organizations in the community actively helping those in need:

Friendship Mission Incorporated: http://www.friendshipmission.org/love/donate/

If you are looking for food, work, or other assistance during the pandemic, check out the resources available HERE.

State officials opened a toll-free number for people who develop symptoms and need to be tested. For more on how to get tested, you can call 1-888-264-2256. This is not a medical helpline.

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