It is no secret that COVID-19 has affected organizations on both domestic and international levels this year, and Raising a Voice is no different. When quarantine began we felt the uneasiness that came with this uncertain season and took all the precautions we could to ensure Raising a Voice could continue to grow during this time.
We did have to shut down for about three months, from mid-March into June, but in that time we were able to move our drop-in center to a permanent location close by to the original spot. We also have been handing out COVID-19 cleaning buckets, which includes items like masks, gloves, wipes, and other supplies to create a safer household. We also have incorporated both wearing and handing out masks, as well as having conversations about how this affects the women in their current situation.
While we used this time to learn more from the women we work with, we also prioritized the safety of our community. We all wear masks and ask visitors to wear masks in our office, as well as the drop-in center. The center is also disinfected before and after every open shift, and we have multiple hand washing and sanitizing stations in both locations. We will continue to take all the precautions put in place so far, and additional ones if more recommendations come out. Likewise will also be requiring face masks, offering hand sanitizing, and have hand washing stations.
It has been humbling to be able to talk about how life situations such as education level, housing, and healthcare accessibility is affecting the women and their feelings about COVID. Working for justice in anti-trafficking needs a holistic approach. We have to talk about and learn how to deal with factors such as a pandemic and how it will affect how these women are being exploited and their own safety. This experience has also made us think about how to continue to keep our staff and volunteers healthy when out on outreach and in the center.
While we continue into these unprecedented times, we are reminded of how great our mission is and how faithful God has been throughout these last few months. Even though it may look a little different, we can’t wait to continue in this work and impact the Knoxville community in the future.
We received a grant from East Tennessee Foundation to handout 50 buckets of COVID cleaning supplies to our neighbors and women we work with this summer!