The Coffee Table - Wednesday, April 1, 2020 Get Connected to COVID-19 Aid and Response
Mike Ilg, Director of Homer Community Schools, is the city's new coordinator for local relief and response to COVID-19. He talks about access to services and checks-in with Homer Church on the Rock, The Homer Foundation, Homer Chamber of Commerce, and Green Dot Homer, The Homer Community Food Pantry and The Salvation Army.
For a master list of phone numbers of resources for food, food deliveries, rental and utility assistance, go to https://www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/covid19
KBBI: You are tuned to Homer AM 890 the time is 9:02 AM and you are tuned to the coffee table. I'm Kathleen Gustafson. Aid in response to COVID-19 is the topic today and telephonically participating is Mike Illg. Thank you so much for joining us. And there are five or six people who are scheduled to possibly call in this morning and I just want to point that out. And the reason why everyone is participating telephonically is that just like the city recommends we are all doing our best to model good behavior here. So thank you Mike for calling in.
Mike Illg: You bet.
KBBI: And the first thing I want to do is most people know you as the guy from Homer community schools. So you are you are well accustomed to organizing for the city but you've been tapped to head up their COVID-19 aid and response organization. Is that correct?
Mike Illg: Well yes and no. I do work as the recreation manager for community schools or community recreation but my efforts as part of the city's EOC (Emergency Operating Command) is coordinating volunteers then some resources for responding to COVID-19 and so this is truly a collaborative effort with many people in the city.
KBBI: And of course service providers and community volunteers. The one thing I want to immediately point everyone to is https://www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/ The City of Homer homepage has a button that you click on COVID-19 updates and on that page there are many many opportunities to contribute and to learn more. There is information for travelers. There's local closure updates. There's a situation overview but the ones we're going to focus on today are two buttons on the City of Homer's COVID-19 page one of them local resources and help needed. And the other donations and volunteering. And those are the those are primarily what you're working with is that correct Mike?
Mike Illg: Yes. Mostly donations and volunteers but we're also making the connections for ensuring community members know where to go to get the local resources and help that they needed.
KBBI: So let's just start right off the bat with, I have an interview from yesterday afternoon with Lieutenant Dave Jimenez from the Salvation Army about what the Salvation Army is providing right now and how a person can get on their list for delivery of food or for rental and utility assistance. I'm going to play that and then after it plays maybe you and I, Mike Illg, can have a conversation about some of the other ways that people can access resources. Yup. Okay well here is Lieutenant Dave.
Recorded interview begins:
KBBI: Hello. You are Lieutenant Dave Jimenez. So I wanted to ask you a few questions so you could tell people how to access food and relief.
Lt. Dave: Some of our efforts are the same as always which is our monthly food box per household and that takes place on Mondays from 2:00 to 4:00 PM at our church facility on Sterling Highway. 1468 Sterling Highway up the road as if you're heading out of town. And what we've done to combat this whole thing is to change from a walk-in to a drive through and so we've been putting it into practice the past two weeks. So we kind of have a rhythm and we want to encourage people to stay home as well. So we've also added the availability to have those goods delivered to your house. We would prefer if you would call to schedule a delivery. And that would be my number here (310) 990-3455 to schedule for that monthly food box. In addition to this we've also seen that there's a great need for those that are trying to get their groceries avoiding the crowds. So we also are connecting with the grocery stores to be a group that can deliver groceries. So that number to schedule that is (310) 803-0588 and we can have your groceries delivered to your door. And that's from Safeway. (310) 803-0588 is for Safeway grocery delivery.
KBBI: This is why I have so many questions about this. Organizing this and being able to follow up and being able to keep people separate is pretty complex. So thank you for the work. How do you select volunteers to do the deliveries?
Lt. Dave: Because the city was telling me they're having trouble because everybody has to be vetted and they have to have a background check. All of our volunteers in the Salvation Army receive a background check. If they volunteered with us they understand that they have to go through that application process.
We also have our staff from our thrift store that due to the fact that our thrift store is shut down to the public we are just having those that are vetted to drive are going to be delivering these groceries as well. We have the staff and we have the vehicles.
KBBI: Then how do you guys follow up?
Lt. Dave: Well you have to keep records right? To make sure everybody who's seeking services gets the attention they need. That's my big fear is people are going to fall through the cracks so I'm always thinking about that before I close the book on the day you know?
KBBI: Oh of course.
Lt. Dave: Well we record all the services that we give and so when when someone does call the
Safeway they're going to go ahead and call give them their information and let them know that they're paying for it with Safeway then getting in contact with us, someone that would deliver. And then we would go and then get in contact with the person be able to meet them where they're at in their location drop the item off and then confirm we did that service. Those volunteers would relay back to us where we're taking all the stats and information that they finished that transaction. We will call back Safeway and let them know that it's been completed so that Safeway knows the person received the food and then we are recording for our own information keeping track of our steps. So that's how we are. We're working it out. This is a new thing. And as things develop you know if something's not working we will do our best to change it to make it smoother better and correct.
KBBI: And I see a lot of this information is available on the Salvation Army Homer core Facebook page right?
Lt. Dave: Yes. That's where we are posting things on Facebook. That is one of the best ways to reach out to us. We see those, we're looking at everything that's going on. People who are commenting back or sending us a message or they can call us through our phone (310) 990-3455 for the monthly food box.
KBBI: Right. And for groceries it's going to be (310) 803-0588. Well I so thank you for your information and I'll package this up and we'll put it on the air when we're talking about what services are available. What about the rental utility assistance fund?
Lt. Dave: Yes so we're still assisting folks with utilities and with rental assistance and with gas and propane those simple things like just getting gas for my car. I'm running out of fuel that kind of thing. We can work with each household so if if they are if someone is in need of that they can call our (310) 803-0588 number. Got that one and a schedule and appointment over the phone and take down your information. And if it is a physical thing where you need to get the gas we can meet with you there in the open air and keep our distance of course and we can help you.
KBBI: Well that's thanks to Lieutenant David Jimenez from the Salvation Army in Homer and just to repeat those numbers and they will be on our website when we post the coffee table this afternoon. The Salvation Army box delivery if you want to get your food box delivered to your house the number is (310) 990-3455 for rent utility assistance and to register for a food box the number is (310) 803-0588.
At Save U More if you want to call and do their Bush orders I'm reading that their Bush orders are
pretty far behind right now they're about a week out from being able to complete them but that number is 235-8661. It might take a few days but they'll get your groceries to you. And Safeway is 226-1000. So Mike Illg from the City of Homer one of the big things that we're all trying to figure out right now is how do these deliveries get made because the people volunteering there they need to quarantine as well and people need to be vetted before they can show up at your house.
Mike Illg: Yeah. And I'm glad you played the interview from Salvation Army because we've been contacting them regularly and coordinating typically for delivering those and needs as he mentioned before they have a Facebook site for information and conversation and a lot of things are happening there but there could be a demographic of vulnerable population of people who aren't on that platform or may not have internet or whatnot. So as far as volunteers have been, a lot of you know how great Homer is, people wanting to step up and help them say I'll help deliver groceries. So basically we are just forwarding their names and numbers to the Salvation Army. They're the go to contact for delivering items.
For those people in need the Salvation Army does have a process of a background check as well to ensure that these people who are going to help are vetted. And they also have vehicles to use for delivery because I know that cab service has been reduced. Fewer drivers are on the road. There are hours in the evening when there are no cabs available so transportation is another huge issue that we need to figure out. I've also talked to another potential service providers, Church on the Rock. We brainstormed some ideas of possible delivery vouchers. I don't know where they are with that.
KBBI: Well Mike you know Church on the Rock is on the line. Aaron Weisser. Are you there?
Aaron: I am here. Good morning Kathleen.
KBBI: Thank you so much for joining the conversation. I so appreciate your calling in. Can you talk a bit about the immediate assistance. You have started a fund that can really help people right now in terms of food and bills. Is that right?
Aaron: That's correct. So Church on the Rock last week I think it was on Friday launched an immediate relief fund with $25,000 with the target of raising another $75,000. We're right at about $50,000 right now. And we mobilized a task force of eight members who kind of represent different segments of our community to have conversations with some of our frontline relief organizations here in the community to see where the needs were and what we're doing as quickly as possible is trying to mobilize some funds. One of the main areas of just simply bolstering the supply of some of our organizations here in the community that do provide different types of relief and aid including food relief, including utility assistance. And then the second thing is we're working on putting together a packet for individuals who we're calling under-employed as a result of reduced hours.
We know that there is an increased cash supply for unemployment right now. Increased benefits. And yet for a number of people in our community they're not necessarily terminated but they've had hours so significantly reduced it's created some problems. And so we're putting together essentially a relief packet of gift cards for people who fall into that category. And we're just now finalizing so we've been trying to move as rapidly as we can. We're just now finalizing the plan for disbursement for the funds that we've already had come in. And again I would point just like with Salvation Army I would point people to our Facebook page. That's probably the most reliable way to get immediate updates. So I'm hoping to have that going here in the next 24 to 48 hours. As far as making those funds available, a lot of it will be through the organizations that we're partnering with. So for example we're going to be bolstering the supply for the food pantry but the complete list and how to get ahold of that relief will be posted here shortly.
KBBI: And that will be on the Church on the Rock Facebook page or is there a separate page for the hashtag I love Homer fund?
Aaron: So right now the best thing to do would be to check in on the Church on the Rock Homer Facebook page. And then we have set up a temporary website for the I love Homer fund, we'll have that live here shortly. And then when we do have it live, again probably the best way to find it is to go to the Church on the Rock Homer page and we'll have updates pinned to the top of the page, the most current updates so that people can find information there and then see what is available.
KBBI: Okay. Thanks so much. Now before when you were called in, Mike Illg and I were discussing the problem with transportation correct?
Aaron: Yeah. So one of the things that we're going to try to do and I had a brief conversation with Dave over at Salvation Army. And again a lot of this stuff is so fluid right now because there's a number of pieces of it that are a little bit of a riddle but one of the things that we're trying to allocate funds for is cab reimbursements for grocery delivery. So we're going to continue working with them to try to arrange that. It is a little bit difficult and I definitely have sympathy for the Salvation Army and trying to, on top of providing the relief that they're doing, processing new volunteers withbackground checks, that's a whole other task in and of itself. So we'll support that in whatever way that we're able to as well but like Mike said even earlier, at the top of the hour, I am really just impressed and delighted with the collaboration between a number of different community entities and I think some of these problems, it's going to take a little bit of brainstorming but I think we'll get them solved.
KBBI: Well thank you so much for calling. I want to remind everyone that yeah there's the Facebook page for Church on the Rock to access. Also one place, cause one of the big problems is finding that one place where all information can come and go, and so the City of Homer has that page and I want to give that a web address. Again it's https://www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/covid19 Then when you click on the COVID-19 button you'll see all kinds of different things one of which is local resources and help needed and donations and volunteering and that's our wheelhouse today. So do you feel like there's anything that you need to get at you want to get out to people right now that we've overlooked.
Aaron: No. I think just keeping abreast of information and I've had a number of people reach out just in the last day or two asking how they would get ahold of those funds. And again we're moving as quickly as possible. And I would encourage people if you're in a pinch and you need some assistance we are moving as quickly as we can. I keep checking in and we're trying to have a good plan for the disbursement of that relief but we're also trying to get to that plan as quickly as possible so that we can step in. So yeah just keep staying in tune. And I think I will probably try to check in with the city and see if we can get a link once we have that plan finalized get a link on the city page even to the I Love Homer fund.
KBBI: Gotcha. Okay. Well thanks so much pastor Aaron Weisser from Church on the Rock. Thank you for calling and we'll get your information. We'll have all of the contacts that we collect today when we post this coffee table and start sharing that information but as much as I am committed to getting that information on our own website I also want to encourage people to use the city's website because the more people who use that then the more people are on the same page, as it were.
Aaron: Yeah. Thanks Kathleen.
KBBI: Thanks so much for calling. Yup. And Mike Illg you still there?
Mike Illg: We’ll follow up with Aaron Weisser. Thank you Church on the Rock for all that you're doing. I've been in touch with Aaron and you canbe reassured once his web link is ready to go we will be posting that info service on the website.
KBBI: Okay. Thank you so much Mike from the City of Homer. Mike Miller the executive director of the Homer Foundation is on the line or at least I hope so. Are you there? Mike?
Mike Miller: Yes I am. Can you hear me?
KBBI: I can. And how about you? Mike Illg can you hear Mike Miller? Okay well go ahead Mike Miller. Thanks for calling. I want folks to know the Homer Foundation has established a fund. It is not an individual reimbursement fund but it is a fund that will go out to well, why don't you explain it.
Mike Miller: Sure. Well thank you and thank you for having us on today. The board of trustees of the Foundation approved the COVID-19 response fund for the Homer Foundation and what that fund will be doing is working directly with nonprofits who are serving folks and help them with costs that extraordinary costs that have come about because of this COVID-19 pandemic and that's any nonprofit doing basic services in our service area that stretches from Ninilchik all the way across the water to Nanwalek. And if there are nonprofits experiencing those sort of extraordinary costs of additional food, additional supplies, additional cleaning supplies you know we are here to help them defray some of those costs. And so we put that out to our donors and the public as a place that if you don't know exactly where you want to donate here's a place that folks can donate and then we will we put that in a quick response grant. Actually it's faster. These are almost an immediate turnaround grant so long as they're an eligible organization with expenses we're going to put that money straight out.
KBBI: And how do people access that? Will it be on the city of Homer's page?
Mike Miller: We've not yet but we could
KBBI: Now it's at the Homer Foundation webpage right?
Mike Miller: Yeah. People go to the homerfoundation.org webpage. They can also check us out on Facebook and check out our Facebook page and find a link in information and to how to donate there and we surveyed our nonprofit partners across the community and, you know, found out what was going on. And I think you've heard some of that already but we know that the food pantries are going through a lot of food more than they would be. Senior centers are changing their models and having to do a lot of takeout food and more meals on wheels sort of delivery if they're even still doing some service so because that's a real vulnerable population they're hyper-vigilant about cleanliness and potentiallypassing on a virus. So yes that's been a real big expense for a lot of our partners. Same way with Haven House, we spoke with them and they're hyper-vigilant about cleaning. It's a very tight environment. And everyone's super,super vigilant about making sure that this virus is, you know, the curve is flattened and doing every precaution they can but there's an expense associated with that and we want to help with that. And one thing we do have listeners that don't have internet. And so I want to make sure people know they can access the Homer Foundation webpage on the internet, but if you are looking for a landline number the number for the Homer Foundation is 235-0541.
KBBI: Okay. And Mike Miller do you feel like that we're up to date or is there anything else you'd like to add.
Mike Miller: No I think that's where we're at, we're going to continue this posture for the next 60 to 90 days and then the board will reassess and see if we need to keep going or if we do pivot a little bit to support the nonprofits. You know this nonprofit community in town is a multi-million dollar impact on the local economy and a lot of the folks out there are really having to absorb a lot of costs, cancel fundraising events. The local pantry I talked to out in Anchor Point they don't have very many fundraising events and that when one was coming up and they had to cancel it so all of a sudden their budget has a huge hole in it. And that's really just typical of what a lot of nonprofits are going through right now.
KBBI: Okay. Well. Can you give me a few examples of the nonprofits we're talking about in terms of your funding?
Mike Miller: Haven House, Independent Living Center, they could be there. Anybody doing basic services like, you know, senior centers, food pantries people sheltering people, doing basic assistance sort of functions non-food assistance, any of those nonprofits. Homer Food Pantry, obviously is a huge partner of ours. So those are our target for this particular season.
KBBI: Okay. Mike Miller executive director of the Homer Foundation. Thank you so much for your call. All right bye. So Mike Illg, we have not yet talked about the Homer Community Food Pantry and I have a little bit of information from them about a minute and a half's worth. If you want to stand by and we'll run that.
Mike Illg: Yeah you bet.
KBBI: Okay here it goes.
Recording from the Homer Community Food Pantry begins:
Hi. This is Dennis Weidler, coordinator of the Homer Community Food Pantry to bring you up to date on our services. During the challenges of dealing with COVID-19 yes we are still providing food each Monday. The major differences being that the service is now drive through or walk through or even taxi through all food items will be delivered to clients in front of the home or United Methodist church.
Other major differences: the time of service we've expanded from 1:00 to 3:00 PM on Mondays to 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM that's 11:30 to 3:00. This we hope will eliminate any traffic backups. All non-food service will be drive through as well. Clients should pull into a parking space on the West side of the Homer United Methodist church and call 235-1968. Our representative will meet with you at your vehicle.
The food pantry has also begun food box delivery. If you need home delivery of an emergency food box or a senior box, call or text 235-1968 and we'll make arrangements. While the food pantry will continue to receive donations of canned foods and dry goods like pasta, rice or beans but please take all non-food items to the Homer Thrift Store, the Salvation Army store or the recycling area at the landfill.
To support the Homer food pantry financially. Simply go to homerfoodpantry.org and click on the donate button on the homepage. Thanks to the City of Homer as well as the Homer Foundation and our many generous supporters who partner with us to meet the needs of our community.
KBBI:Thank you Dennis Weidler from the Homer Community Food Pantry who made up that information packet for KBBI and for the City of Homer. Mike Illg, I believe I have Brad Anderson the executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce on the line. Are you there?
Brad: Hi Kathleen and Mike. Good morning. Yes I'm here.
KBBI: Good morning. I've been reading about a service that the Chamber is developing for businesses that are still able to produce and want to deliver. Have I got that right Brad Anderson?
Brad: Well basically what it is we had a few of our members call in and they really can't be open to the public, some of these are in the health care field but they're not open to the public generally right now and they just want to be more productive during this time when the needs are out there. Yeah. And then they basically can't be operating. So how can they provide their services and lend a hand to help out those? So they've been reached out and if people are reaching out and see if we help for groceries and so something like that would help limit the amount of people that are coming into town going shopping. So if they couldbe of service and coordinating with some of our grocery stores to make those deliveries that's kind of what started an inquiry from our side to see if maybe we can't put together a little delivery network and try to help out people’s situations and also to try to keep more people at home if possible.
KBBI: Have you been in contact with Mike Illg and with the City of Homer to coordinate?
Brad: I've been with the city mayor a little bit. I haven't talked to Mike yet but we do want to coordinate this with the city and certainly don't want to duplicate efforts. So I know they have a great volunteer form that they have on the new page and that's probably something we will refer people to first to fill that out. And then we can help try to coordinate and working with our members and the businesses here in the community to offer these services. We'll coordinate that with them. So again we just want to make it easier for both the response to the residents on how they receive it and also coordinate the efforts of our members here at the Chamber to help out.
KBBI: And are you providing support of any kind like to the businesses that are members of the Chamber? How are you sharing information with them? How are you reaching out to your businesses? Because so many of them are closed right now.
Brad: Oh well one of the things that we started this Homer To Go Facebook page a couple of weeks ago in response to some of the restaurants especially that were having to shift some of their services to just take out we wanted to provide a platform to showcase some of those delivery and take out services. And then it started branching into other businesses to combine some online ordering opportunities and it just provided a platform that more businesses aren't sharing what's going on with theirs and we have about almost a thousand members on that page right now so it's become a good clearing house for some of this information. So you know that is one place where we've been posting updates on different services, different opportunities then we'll probably still communicate through that and then our Chamber website for what's going on and decide how people can connect. But again we do want to try to coordinate most of our efforts with the city so we're not over duplicating things.
KBBI: He was, folks, Brad Anderson executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce. Thank you for calling. Have we overlooked anything?
Brad: No. The only other thing that has come up, people have been asking about our Homer bucks program and that is an opportunity where it's basically like a gift certificate that's usable for anyof our retailers that participate in this and we have I think about 30 different Homer area retailers that use the Homer bucks program. So if someone was wanting to look on how they can help people and donate something that keeps the dollar share local but give them a chance to provide some additional funding so we'll provide more information about how that can be available. It's a little more complicated now that our offices are closed but if anyone is interested in that we can try to coordinate with them if they just call the Chamber office and leave a message at the main number for the Chamber and we'll respond to that as soon as we can get those messages. That number is 235-7740.
KBBI: Okay. Thank you Brad Anderson. All right. Thank you guys. So Mike one of the things that keeps over the course of this 35 minutes so far it's getting to everybody. Everybody has a different website. Everybody has a different Facebook page. Everybody coordinating services seems to be the biggest challenge.
Mike Illg: Correct. That's something we're compiling at the moment and we envision this will all be up on the website very soon. And one of the things that we're very fortunate to have already in our community is we have that MAPP group mobilizing action and so one of the things that MAPP has provided is a link of all these resources that's on a website right now but we are going to streamline it and make sure if you could read and get all that information for the community members and as Brad said we have not connected as far as the Chamber's efforts with the city helping coordinate all these things. I did make an effort to email someone and I haven't heard a response. It just seems that everyone's been very busy trying to fill the gap. So we're very, very fortunate that they're stepping up and helping.
KBBI: Well thanks Mike Illg. I want to open up the phone lines. If anyone has a question for Mike Illg or questions about services that are available the number to call is 235-7721, someone is waiting to answer the phone put you on hold and send you into the air studio. Jessi Felice are you there?
Jessi: I'm here. How are you?
KBBI: Oh thank you so much for calling Jessi Felice you are a part of the Green Dot organization, correct?
Jessi: I am the Green Dot coordinator for Homer. And that entails the community and the school base.
KBBI: Well this gives us an opportunity to talk a little bit about self care and about how you might use the time that you're spending at home. What are Green Dots’ goals right now? You must be having a hundred meetings a day. Like everyone.
Jessi: Yeah. Yes for sure. So I am a high school special education teacher as well so my days are full as well as being a mom but as far as Green Dot I'm actually kind of excited to get out some virtual trainings this month and it's April 1st. April is greened up month where we really look to recognize positive things that we can do within the community and the school. And it's the time to really get people trained in the methods of Green Dot and just looking out for one another. And during this time I mean a lot of people think like Oh like we don't have to worry about it right now but we have people being in their homes and you know they claim that the rise of domestic violence and child abuse could could be an epidemic right now. And so it's just being aware and touching base with our friends and family especially those that we think might be in a situation that might not be safe. We no longer live in a world where we look at things and think that's not my problem. It's not my business. You know? Like my grandmother would tell me if she knew the work I did. She'd be like mind your own business. You know? We don't live in that world anymore. If we we get that gut instinct that we know something's just not right around us whether it's at the grocery store or something we see online or a weird phone call that we get. It's our place as human beings to do something about it. Green Dot teaches these amazing strategies of delegating to somebody else, calling someone, getting someone else involved and then distracting. You know distracting on social media is easy. When somebody's posting something negative, post something positive, just take that left turn. You don't even have to address the situation in the moment. Being direct, directly involving yourself with the person. You know when I talk to high schoolers being bullied or being the bully themselves, directly involving herself and there's just so many different ideas and ways that people, in kids especially, come up with such creative ways to break down those barriers and we all have them and nobody's asking within Green Dot for you to change. If you're a shy person we want you to stay a shy person but knowing that you have that barrier and that you can't be direct knowing that there are so many other things that you can try and do to keep your friends in your community safe. Well these are very special circumstances where we're all called upon to both keep to yourself and don't look the other way. When you see something that's going on that needs attention. And so Green Dot is positioned to do all of those things.
KBBI: Oh for sure. And have you scheduled your Green Dot online training? Not. Yeah I was hoping. So I was supposed to be a part of a phenomenal group this Saturday which I think you were a part of and so I was hoping to maybe tryout my virtual training this week. Oh what is this thing happening on Saturday? What thing is happening on Saturday? Oh there was supposed to be some type of for. I can't remember off the top of my head what it was but Green Dot was going to provide like a half day training.
Jessi: Oh yeah, so now I'm looking at next Friday being my go day.
KBBI: Okay. So there are plenty of people out there who do have internet who could use this time to dive into Green Dot. And so I want to encourage anybody who's got the time and the inclination to do that. I am a green daughter myself and a big fan of your program because there are a hundred things you can do in any one situation but the one thing you don't do is pretend it isn't happening. And that's a great lesson for COVID-19 right now.
Jessi: Oh it is for sure. And so I'm happy to give people some information. I have a Facebook page. It's just Green Dot Homer. I welcome anyone and everyone to check that out. And like I said it's greened up month so I'm going to be posting some random information and statistics and just things that people can do. People are welcome to post Green Dot that they've stepped in or somebody has stepped in for them and maybe throw out like I saw this situation. I didn't know what to do. What could I have done? And just really get those conversations going because that's how when I do my trainings I get the information out. But the most valuable thing that comes out of it is people saying you know what? I was in this situation. I didn't know what to do. And then learning from it and knowing that even though they weren't friends with the people they had no idea what they who they were. They could have done something. So we really gear it towards the population that we're working with. Green Dot has come a long way. It's eight years since it came to Homer and this last year we were able to get out to a couple of the Old Believer Russian schools for our first time ever and that was eye opening and amazing. They're still reaching out and they're still putting the practices in and it's just great to hear.
KBBI: Well thank you for calling in for some stay at home outreach. That's Jessi Felice, the coordinator for Homer Green Dot. And you can access her information at the Green Dot Homer Facebook page right?
Jessi: Yes ma'am.
KBBI: Okay. Thanks for calling Jessi. Thank you. So Mike Illg are you still there? Thanks for hanging on the line.
Mike Illg: Yes I am. And I was hoping if there's an opportunity that I could share a couple couple things as well. Okay. And just as a reminder to thegeneral public we do have a list of current resources that are available and when you go to the City of Homer website there's a main key you can see right away COVID-19 click on that and it will take you to frequently asked questions, local resources, help needed, donations and volunteers, the latest news from from the situation overview. And just keep in mind in the public as a whole that the City of Homer is taking extensive and proactive actions to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in our community. And we want to ensure the safety and health of everyone. So with that we would be remiss not to remind people to continue to craft the social distance, continue to wash your hands frequently, not to touch your face if you've been out and about. All the things that are so crucial so that the efforts that we're doing now this will be helpful to ensure that we have less people getting sick. And also on this website this is the community to help you our service provider NTC a nonprofit or a business that would like to donate supplies PPE equipment volunteer efforts. Please go to this website find out how you could submit that. We are creating what I would call virtual warehouse so we know where things are, who to call when and if we need to contact them get them.
KBBI: Okay. Thanks Mike. Paul Seaton is on the line.
Paul: Hey thanks. Hey I just wanted to point out that one of the things we can do to help with is, this morning on KBBI news they were talking and they said should people wear masks, everybody? And he said well we're trying to preserve masks for medical use but everybody should wear a scarf when outside. So we have a number of people locally that are creating masks or the CDC recommends wearing a bandana and so those things are enhancing the social distancing. I just wanted everybody to realize that social distancing is so that as we talk or cough or sneeze or do anything in public those droplets that come out will fall to the ground or to a surface instead of going over to a person that's six feet away. But that's the second way of which it is transmitted. And now that we're finding that so many people are, for 5 to up to 14 days after they'd been exposed, can be shedding the viruses and not even know that they are infected. The only way we're going to get 100% of people that are shedding viruses is if everybody wears masks when they're in public. So just wanted to make sure that everybody's watching the news and saying that you know you can see whether it's China or Singapore or South Korea the people that have got this kind of under control you see a hundred percent mask usage.
Now it doesn't have to be that kind of mask but a cloth mask. That'll absorb those droplets and keep them from spreading and in stores. And those kind of things are really important. And so there's a number of things online. homerrotary.org. has one and there's a whole bunch online but there's two different kinds of masks. One that is for sure medical use to prevent that medical person or a first responder from inhaling very tiny virus particles and getting infected and the community, the great mask to keep the people from spreading by stopping those droplets. And remember soap and water is what you wash your hands to kill those. And so if you'd just every time you come in wash your hands and by washing your masks every day we are in a good position to take this on in Alaska. And Homer is filled with seamstresses. The pattern is easy. I have two already that a friend made for me. You have to remember to wash them every day.
KBBI: And then the other thing you were talking about how the droplets then go onto surfaces or the floor. It's another thing we tend to do around here is take our shoes off before we go in the house. Keeping those outside clothes outside and out of your house is also another thing that people can do.
Paul: Yeah. And I think that the state is probably cause I heard Annie Zink on the radio this morning too saying that people are presymptomatic or asymptomatic and you've got to remember that they're saying that either 80% to 100% of people in the same household are all going to get infected from one person. But there are many of those people that are going to be asymptomatic. And so those are the people that are going out shopping because they appear to be healthy. And so we really need people in all the stores and when they're out in public holding in those and then washing them killing the virus when they come in and anyway I just hope that everything will go forward that way.
KBBI: I've got a caller. I've got two callers backed up on the line so I want to thank you for your call Paul Seaton.
Paul: Yup. Bye. Bye.
KBBI: And Bjorn Olson are you there? I can hear you. So Bjorn you've been out there in scuba gear making deliveries for people. And we're not really here to promote your forays out on Mondays but I do want to hear about what you're doing in hopes of encouraging others to volunteer.
Bjorn: Sure. Yeah. When I was actually kind of almost got stranded in Nome when it was getting very serious. And so when we did finally get homewe felt very relieved because we had quite a bit of food in our freezers and felt like we were at a pretty good place, personally my partner and I, to weather this. And so I just kinda started thinking about what could I do to help out and rummaging through the myriad of crazy things that I own. I put together a kit which consists of my dry suit, heavy duty rain jacket with a hood, a dual cartridge respirator, goggles and rubber gloves. And so what I realized is that I feel like that is a pretty safe setup, you know it's a crazy looking Darth Vader set up but I can wear that and feel fairly confident to go out and not either contract or transmit the virus. And so therefore I put out an offer to some of my older friends. It's people that I know that are immunologically vulnerable that don't want to risk exposure. And so I made myself available every Monday to go shopping. And so I've got people that send me their list on Sunday night and then I go do the shopping for them. And my protocol is real simple, I put on that gear, I've got my shopping list together, I've got their cars and then out in the parking lot I'll put all of that protective barrier on and then I go shopping with it on and then when I come back I put it into a tote outside in the parking lot before I get back in my car. And then just this last Monday I was gifted. I had some antiseptic stuff that I was using but someone gave me some really nice antiseptic spritzer and so I spritz everything down and then I put it in the tote outside my car that I close the lid of the tote and then I deliver the groceries.
KBBI: So this brings me to something that Pastor Aaron Weisser had suggested earlier when we spoke before the show started which is that there are lots of people organizing volunteers and making sure that they are followed up on and things get done. It's quite an undertaking but one thing that a person can do, which is what you have done, is check in on your neighbors. Make sure the people you know around you who might be vulnerable have the support they need and offer that support.
Bjorn: That's absolutely right. I mean that's to me this is kind of a personal story to tell but I was on a lot of committees and a lot of boards a lot of working groups before COVID-19 really became a pandemic and now I've kind of like been able to rein some of that in and I really felt like I didn't want to join another committee to talk about how to do something, I just wanted to do something. It's like direct action and a strong philosophy of mine is mutual aid. And so I feel like this is a very easy thing for me personally. But yes this is exactly what the message is I would like to share is just check on your neighbors, you know give them a call. Do you need, can I shovel? You have drainage issues going on now that spring break is happening you know there's a million things wecan do for one another while maintaining that social distancing. And even if it doesn't relate or translate into an actual task it's that reaching out that makes people feel less alone and less vulnerable.
KBBI: Well thank you Bjorn Olson because it's about time for us to wrap up. I know that one place where people who want to help can hook up is a Facebook page called Homer helpers so I can recommend that people go to that page if they're interested in suiting up and helping their neighbors. and Bjorn Olson thank you so much for calling.
Bjorn: You got it.
KBBI: Mike Illg, we have come to the end and there are so many things that I want to recap but first and foremost is your work with the City of Homer. People can access an amazing amount of information at https://www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/ or just plug the words City of Homer into your favorite search engine and that's going to give you an enormous amount of information on the COVID-19 page.
Mike Illg: That is correct. And I'll remind the general public the city is working very hard to work with citizens, businesses, nonprofits. So the more we all work together on a unified front the better off we're going to be. I appreciate everyone's patience and understanding as we go forward and take care of each other.
KBBI: Well I sure appreciate your patience Mike Illg for hanging on the line for a full hour. Thank you for providing all this information and giving us that center that we can always return to at the City of Homer page. And is there anything else that you've got on your list to get out today.
Mike Illg: Oh social distance, then wash your hands and take care of yourself and your family and friends.
KBBI: Well thank you Mike.Thank you for being on the coffee table.
Mike Illg: Hey thank you.
KBBI: Okay on your way. Bye bye. And that is the coffee table for this Wednesday April 1st. I'm Kathleen Gustafson thanks to all our guests. Mike Illg from the City of Homer. Pastor Aaron Weisser from Church on the Rock. Lieutenant Dave from the Salvation Army. Mike Miller executive director of the Homer Foundation. Brad Anderson from the Homer Chamber of Commerce. Jesse Felice the coordinator for Green Dot. Bjorn Olson and Paul Seaton.