By Cindy Jackson
April 16, 2020
As reported earlier by The Fernandina Observer, Nassau County approved Resolution No. 2020-35, on March 18, 2020, declaring a State of Local Emergency as a result of the threat to public health caused by COVID-19.
Since that time, a number of area nonprofits have contacted the Board of County Commissioners in an attempt to secure additional funding to provide for the needs of the clients they serve. Those nonprofits include the Council on Aging, Micah’s Place, Barnabas and Starting Point – to name just a few. Nonprofit needs have become even greater since the outbreak of the Coronavirus – not just in terms of financial assistance but also in the need for volunteers.
Many individuals crucial to the effective operation of so many of our community’s nonprofits are themselves, individuals in the “high risk” category – i.e. over the age of 60.
Says Janice Ancrum, President and CEO of the Council on Aging (COA), “it’s all about community,” and shared this story.
Recently, the COA found itself unable to unload a semi-trailer truckload of food due to a lack of volunteers. According to Ancrum, she immediately called County Manager/County Attorney Mike Mullin who put Assistant County Manager Taco Pope on the case.
Less than 20 minutes later, Ancrum reports she received a call Mr. Pope and shortly thereafter, staff from the Department of Public Works were on the scene.
Ancrum shared that not only was County staff there an hour early to ensure they didn’t miss the truck (delivery trucks are not allowed to park and unload on the street), the team from the County accomplished in just one hour what would routinely take at least three hours.
Ancrum was quick to point out that the efficiency of this particular operation was in no way disrespectful of the agency’s legion of very talented and dedicated volunteers but more as an expression of gratitude to County staff for their willingness to respond so very quickly and effectively to the COA’s cry for help.
As stated in the latest issue of Senior Life, a publication of the COA, in 2019, the agency provided over 32,598 meals through its Meals on Wheels (MOW), Soup Train and congregate meals programs.