HOPE Center staff practice social distancing while placing food orders in the trunks of clients’ vehicles. Kyle Varley, HOPE warehouse manager, places groceries in the trunk of a client’s vehicle.

HOPE Center of Edmond re-opened this week by conducting all client applications online. People may also call HOPE Center, but the lobby remains closed. The local charity suspended its services recently to prepare safety measures for clients and employees.

“Today it seemed to go very well,” executive director Chris Sperry said on Tuesday. “If they’re picking up food we have a new system worked out.”

Acute emergencies caused by disease, unemployment, a car crash, child abuse, homelessness and divorce have been the main reasons people seek assistance at HOPE, a nonprofit agency.

Clients are asked to pull up near a warehouse door for an employee to place the food in the vehicle’s trunk by the parking lot curb.

“There’s no client interaction,” Sperry said.

She is considering the logistics of doing a drive-in, drop-off for food.

According to an April 1 survey by Lend EDU:

• 12% of Americans have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 compared to just 6% from our first survey two weeks ago. 24% of Americans have seen no changes to their job compared to 35% the first time, while 13% have been furloughed compared to 11% two weeks ago; and 

• Money spent on food and supplies increased by 88% from two weeks ago, going from $335.65 to $631.06.

“Pretty much everyone who called today for financial assistance, it was because they had lost their job,” Sperry said. “I didn’t even keep track of the number of phone calls. It just rang all day.”

Throughout the year HOPE Center accepts donations through the kindness of the community. HOPEfully Yours remains closed because it is considered a non-essential business. HOPEfully Yours is a quality resale shop for the HOPE Center to fully utilize all of the donations it receives for its prenatal/obstetrics clinic. It also contributes to what HOPE Center pays for fresh food.

“That is a large, ongoing part of our revenue stream.” Sperry said. “Until we re-open the store we just don’t have that income.”

All of the center’s volunteers have been asked to remain at home. Sperry said the HOPEfully Yours store employees are bridging the gap by working at the center. This allows the store employees to continue receiving a paycheck.

“We need to take care of our employees, too,” Sperry said.

To learn more about HOPE Center, 1251 N. Broadway, or to apply for online services, please visit www.hopecenterofedmond.com or call 405-348-1340.

Coburn is a police, government and general assignment reporter for The Edmond Sun. Send an email to James at jcoburn@edmondsun.com or call 405-341-2121.

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