The story of Fairview/Fairmont Outreach for the year 2020 follows the same plot line as have our individual lives, our church, our nation and the world during this tumultuous year.
During January and February, the program continued on the upward trajectory established during 2019. dinners continued with good attendance. The after-school program continued to provide a healthy after-school snack and a myriad of activities for elementary age children. The teen program continued to flourish with a small but dedicated number of participants. Outreach “reached out” to elders at Arista Care nursing home, participated in the Beloved Community program at Meadville Middle School, learned with Career Link which provided monthly seminars. Youth enjoyed a major field trip to Splash Lagoon.
A primary benefit during these two months was the number of staff and volunteers who enjoyed working and helping at the Outreach Center and provided support for the residents and each other. Sarah Miller continued as Director with Kate Glunt and Harlee O’Brien serving as co-Assistant Directors. A PMI student was placed at Outreach as part of PMI’s community service component. Several Allegheny students within the Bonner program were placed at Outreach and not only served as wonderful role models for children and youth but also played a major role with the after-school program.
Then, of course, Covid made its appearance in March, the lockdown began and all activities ground to a halt. The Outreach Center was closed until June when the yearly lunch program began on a “Grab and Go” basis. Outreach staff were available for outdoor activities during the afternoons when there was good weather. At that point, however, Sarah and Kate were the only staff working. Harlee found a better-paying full-time job, the Allegheny Bonners had returned home and our PMI student also found a job.
When school resumed in September, the Outreach Board recommended that possibly a limited after-school program could resume however masks were to be worn, temperatures taken and numbers of participants would be limited. Thanks to Ross and Marie Feltz, monthly food boxes for senior citizens continued to be delivered to 7 residents.
In October, Sarah informed the Board that she had accepted a position with CHAPS which would pay her significantly more and also provide her with standard medical benefits. Sarah re-invigorated the Outreach Program and established new activities and a solid purpose. She made a significant difference in the lives of the residents at Fairview/Fairmont. We wish her the best in her new position.
Since then, the Outreach has been sheltering in place like everyone else. The Board felt that it was not in a position to hire a new Director given the safety concerns regarding the pandemic. At present we are on hold … in abeyance … waiting … as are we as individuals, a church, a nation and a world. We will have to re-imagine and plan carefully and begin anew when the time is right. It’s all in His hands.
Respectfully submitted, Christine Lafferty, Fairview/Fairmont Outreach Board Chair
2020 Board Members: First Presbyterian – Tom Barratt, Ross Feltz, Vickie Fischer, Brian Jensen, Chuck Jones, Chris Lafferty, Logan Luce, Marty Malone. Stone UMC: Pat Loutzenhiser, Sarah Roncolato, Darlene Ross, Eileen Shields, Jim Turnbull.