As Nashville continues mobilizing storm relief efforts, organizers are taking extra precautions due to coronavirus. But they’re still vowing to assist storm victims as long as needed.
Alan Murdock of Project Connect Nashville says the group has brought out thousands of volunteers and will continue over the weekend.
“We give them the safety information as what to do when they go into a house or go up to a house. How to limit contact, keep a safe distance when they can,” he said.
Rasheedat Fetugah of Gideon’s Army says there’s still a lot more to do in North Nashville. The group is still accepting donations, operating temporary food pantries and helping with home repairs.
“Our volunteers are still showing up,” she said. “They have the option, because we’re still out here. The work has to be done.”
But Fetugah said that some things, like food deliveries or data analysis, can happen with limited person-to-person contact.
“I feel confident that, even with this pandemic, that we will at least be able to help families,” Fetugah said. “It just might be more one-on-one, individualized care than it is, you know, out and doing the things that we were doing kinda in the first space.”
Fetugah said she’s taking direction from the city and the health department to determine how to keep volunteers engaged without putting their health at risk.
Hands on Nashville, meanwhile, said it’s limiting the size of work crews to a maximum of 50 people, carrying extra sanitizer, and asking anyone who feels sick to stay home.
United Way said it’s expanding financial counseling sessions over the phone or video chat. The organization says it expects an influx in calls due to financial strains from both the tornadoes and coronavirus.
The Tennessee health department reports 18 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the state. Six are in Nashville.