OLM Outreach continues to serve in difficult times

Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach is still providing groceries to people during the quarantine. (Provided)

JOHNS ISLAND—Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach has remained committed to its mission amidst a changing situation.

The outreach, a nonprofit that has been helping people in need on the Sea Islands and downtown Charleston for 30 years, continues to encourage and support self-sufficiency and self-worth for people in need. It offers education, wellness, and outreach services, while taking stringent precautions to protect staff, volunteers and neighbors. 

“In the midst of so much uncertainty, our commitment to the community is stronger than ever,” the outreach stated in a press release. 

In order to safely support the community, staff and volunteers, Our Lady of Mercy Outreach is focusing only on emergency services. Nonessential programs and services are on hold until further notice.

To maximize safety, food items are pre-selected and pre-packed by staff and volunteers to minimize contact at both locations. The Soup Kitchen at the Neighborhood House in downtown Charleston is now serving pick-up-only packed lunches to adhere to recommendations of the state for public gatherings. 

“We are committed, as always, to ensuring that the most vulnerable among us receive the critical support they need to not fall behind,” said Ericka Plater, executive director of Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach. However, she added, they anticipate that the needs of the people in their communities will only increase.

She noted that the numbers will continue to grow for those who already live paycheck to paycheck, for parents who have to miss work because of school closures, for food and beverage employees who are now without work at all, and more.

 “In order to meet these needs, we are calling on our community for help,” Plater said. “This is new territory for all of us. We know that an especially difficult path may lay ahead for many. But we will continue to work hard to remain a helping hand to our neighbors.”

The outreach suggested some ways that people can help:

Donate Food: Donations of shelf-stable food will help families prepare for long-term impact. Donations can be taken to the Johns Island location at 1684 Brownswood Road or to Neighborhood House at 77 and 79 America Street, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Financial Contributions: As resources are directed to focus on meeting the unfolding needs and as the number of people the outreach serves increases,  monetary support is crucial to remaining responsive to this crisis. Just one example of a new, immediate financial burden is the need to purchase additional food to provide bag lunches in the soup kitchen.

For more information, visit www.olmoutreach.org.