My Sister’s House, My Sister’s Cafe, and COVID-19

Dear My Sister’s House and My Sister’s Cafe Clients, Donors & Supporters:

I share the thoughts, feelings, and stress that many of you may have felt. Our staff has too as we struggle to function with the changing news.

We know My Sister’s House work in many ways is more important than ever. Families that have encountered abuse issues will face more physical and economic stress and quarantined time together, perhaps without healthy intervention. Asian/Pacific Islander families may be facing subtle or overt discrimination because of the virus’ origins. My Sister’s Cafe which supports My Sister’s House Women to Work Program is facing a revenue loss because of the lack of restaurant patrons and lack of catered meetings. My Sister’s House staff also has children, parents, and vulnerable partners that they care for and love. We are struggling with the right answer of maintaining our vital service delivery while not adding to the community health issues.

This is what we are doing:
-Staying home if sick or exposed to someone who might be sick.
-Emphasizing good practices around washing hands, not shaking hands, and keeping social distance.
-Wiping tables, counters, and door handles at least twice a day at My Sister’s House and at My Sister’s Cafe.
-Wiping our telephones and our desk spaces, esp. since we have shared quarters.
-Not hosting major events.
-Addressing with survivors not to come to office if they are sick or have been exposed to others.
-Raising COVID-19 awareness with survivors at support group and at our shelters and appropriate actions for them to take.
-Offering case management and counseling by telephone.
-Minimizing outside meetings or handling them by phone.
-Volunteers (that may be vulnerable themselves or having to care for vulnerable community members) are asked to stay at home until the COVID-19 fears dissipate.

In summary:
-Our 24/7 multi-lingual line will continue to operate.
-Our three 6 bed shelters will continue to provide emergency and transitional shelter, all 18 beds are currently filled.
-Our office will be open to assist victims. Less staff will be available as they will be telecommuting for health reasons.
-As much as possible, clients will be assisted via telephone.
-If clients come to our office, clients and staff will implement healthy social distances.
-My Sister’s Cafe is open still and so is our new second site at 650 Capitol Mall. My Sister’s Cafe is a great place to order breakfast or lunch still as less patrons have been coming. We may have to close so we would appreciate your support for our Women to Work Program.
-My Sister’s Gala on Monday, May 18 is still scheduled. It is outside the time period of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended mass gathering suspension for 8 weeks. If the situation worsens, then the Gala will be postponed, but we are keeping positive that by the time May 18 is hear, everyone will want to celebrate being TOGETHER!

My Sister’s House Board chose TOGETHER as the theme of My Sister’s House 19th Anniversary. TOGETHER with you we are counting on surviving this COVID-19 period.

Stay healthy and thank you for supporting My Sister’s House and My Sister’s Cafe.

Nilda Valmores
Executive Director