I thought I would take you all on a little virtual journey, “a week in the life” if you will. Now that I have been back at work for a few months and the hectic swirl of the Christmas season has come and gone, I feel like I have my bearings enough. Going back to work after maternity leave was hard enough, let alone with a whole change in the way my work life looked as I knew it. I think I am finally settling into our “new normal” (anyone else hate that phrase now??) and would love to take you along.
There is some debate as to whether a week starts on a Sunday or a Monday. In my head, it’s a Monday. We meet up at our room in the basement of a church, what has been our HQ since the pandemic began and we needed a place to keep our stuff and prepare meals. We are so grateful to our community partners who have always been generous with space towards us and our folks. First step – check in. We sit together as a team and talk about how we are and we pray for each other. What a beautiful gift. After that, we get super busy. Opening bags, distributing snacks into said bags, and later on the frozen meals prepared by Second Harvest. About 90 bags are prepped, along with 10 warm meals. At 12:45, we are moving all the meals up and outside where our community is waiting in line 6ft apart. We give lunch to go at 1pm, and try to connect with people in line from a safe and masked distance. What a difference from our communal meals before Covid – they are missed!
Tuesday morning, we meet over WhatsApp video chat for our weekly staff meeting! We become 4 little squares on a phone – what times! I miss our coffee shop meetings at the cozy Rustic Cosmo. We discuss all things Dale, and end with a prayer. A beautiful way to start the day. The rest of the day includes admin work and fundraising – reaching out to all of those who make our work possible and partner with us in a variety of ways. We love connecting with you!
Wednesday is meal prep and outreach day. While I am home with Charlotte, the girls prep 45 or more breakfast sandwiches to go inside brown paper bags, along with a fruit or muffins and a juice box! After breakfast is ready, they hit the road either by foot or in our new van (name yet to be determined). Along Queen Street is where we frequent most, up and down the length of Parkdale chatting with our friends and some strangers. We usually bring socks, snacks, drinks, and winter gear to have practical items to give. But the main goal is to meet people where they are at and connect in a different space. Doing outreach is one of my favourite parts of my job, and a skill I am always working to be better at. It can be hard for a shy person like me!
Thursday we meet back at The Dale HQ in the morning and bring the pre-made breakfasts up and outside. They are given out again to our friends who respectfully form a line outside. We are so grateful that this has been very maintainable in terms of keeping everyone safe. While we miss sitting around a table, we are so glad to see our friends mask to mask and connect a couple times a week. After breakfast has been given, we usually disperse to do different forms of outreach. Whether that be going for another walk, having a meeting with each other, tidying up our room or storage unit, or dropping groceries to someone’s door there is never a shortage of things to do!
Friday is a day of rest – our Sabbath! We take this very seriously, and are glad for the ways we can each find a day or moment of rest as our home life rhythm allows.
Finally, we reach Sunday! Usually some combination of us collects the Second Harvest delivery in the morning. We get all 100 meals we need for Monday from SH; they are all safely cooked and packaged by volunteers. We also usually get fruit and snacks to give out throughout the week, and if we are really lucky – the eggs used to make breakfast! We have always been so grateful to partner with Second Harvest even before Covid times. We would have a hard time functioning without them! After this, we do a variety of things depending on the weather and COVID restrictions. All which have included an outside small church service sitting 6ft apart, or outreach around the neighbourhood.
We are always finding ways to stay true to who we are as an organization and community. Despite having to pivot multiple times a month, week, or day to meet Covid restrictions and stay safe, we are doing our best and only by and for the glory of God. We are grateful to all those who partner with us – we wouldn’t be The Dale without you.
Thanks for coming along in a week with me! I wish you could all be a fly on the wall of my week in real life and see how COOL my job is. But this will have to do! Peace to you this week as you go about your routines. I am grateful to have you in my life!
I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries. For me, doing this work means inviting others into my journey of ministry – prayerfully and financially. If you would like to support the work that I do at The Dale, I would love to chat. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org