Quarantine Stories

Now that the Stay-At-Home order is reaching it’s 22nd week, we are all trying to stay busy and keep our spirits up. Some people are volunteering and some are using this opportunity to accomplish long overdue projects. We’d like to know what you are doing to stay busy during quarantine? Send us your quarantine stories to katie.reeves@traviscountytx.gov

Coming of Age/RSVP volunteers are coming up with creative and meaningful ways to stay busy during quarantine. Here are a few of their stories:

Victoria Pennock

Victoria Pennock lost her day job due to COVID 19, but she refuses to let that slow her down. Victoria has been a volunteer with Keep Austin Fed for some time. Recently she has been devoting an average of 50 hours a month to rescuing food from places that would have thrown it away and bringing it to local agencies that feed those in need.

Suzanne Faught

Suzanne Faught is thinking outside the box since her regular volunteer activities have been put on hold. She has been diligently working on making masks that she is donating to El Buen Samaritano, Family Eldercare and for elderly neighbors who are shut in due to COVID. She is also grocery shopping for shut in elderly and baking sweet treats for nurses and first responders.

Marcia Ehlers

Marcia Ehlers hasn’t let the pandemic interfere with her volunteer activity. Even though Wellmed Senior Center is closed down, Martha is picking up meals and delivering them to Wellmed’s home-bound  clients. She also continues to volunteer at Faith Food Pantry to ensure food is available for those who need it most in our community.

Margarine Beaman

Margarine Beaman didn’t get the memo that there was a pandemic. She is still just as busy as ever assisting with Blue Santa, Conley Guerrero, American Youthworks and other organizations. When she can’t be there in person, she serves in a virtual sense through Zoom meetings and responding to emails. Margarine is determined to keep helping as much as possible.

Mary Hermes

Mary Hermes is making quilts for Dell Children’s Hospital and donating her scrap fabric to Marbridge so individuals with developmental disabilities can use it for their art classes. 

Florence Ponziano

Florence is is operating and coordinating the food pantry and essential projects for Florence’s Comfort House. At Comfort House, they focus on supplying kids’ essential needs—including food, clothing, school supplies, and a safe place to study and play. 

Del Goss

Del is picking up food donations and running errands for Florence’s Comfort House and he is assisting the Humane Society by feeding feral cat colonies. He is also assisting the Montopolis Community Alliance. 
 

Drive A Senior North Central Volunteers- Eleanor Langsdorf, Suzanne Colewell, Teddy Ellis, Judy Hughes are continuing to drive clients to essential appointments. 

Bill Miller

Bill is driving over 900 miles and volunteering 80 hours a month to help serve Drive A Senior West and their clients.

Mike Wadino Mike is volunteering over 140 hours per month with the American Red Cross. He is keeping busy with daily client casework, COVID-19 meetings and preparing for Hurricane season

Merlita (Mindy) Cruz

” I had recently retired from being a nurse last February, and to help out with the pandemic, I make masks, caps, ear savers to those in need. My husband had been very supportive in a way when we have to get in line for hours in Joann fabric just to get in to get fabric, driving all the way to Jarrell to pick up elastic, going to the post office to mail stuff to NYC, Florida, PA, CA, and even locally. We give mostly to the hospital I used to work for . I have roughly made approximately 600 masks and caps combined.”

Hospital Staff wearing caps and masks that Mindy has made.

Shane Cook

“I have been performing virtual activities starting in April. I am doing quality review of income tax preparation for Foundation Communities, about 15 hours per week.  I will assist with the Foundation Communities Food Pantry Program and will continue doing that once a week for about 3 to 4 hours (Clients are kept outside and I’ll be boxing various grocery items inside).”

Kelly Spears

“I have been busy making masks for various organizations.  My total now is 325.  Will make more if needed.  Also I am making baby clothes from donated wedding dresses to “Angel Wings of Lakeway ”.   My sewing machine has been working hard & is in need of a break.  I am happy to be a volunteer for Travis County.”

Carol and Sid Stuewe

“Foundation Communities opened Virtual Tax return preparation in April and I have done about 75 returns since then. I put in at least 75 hours in April getting the system running and Tax prep, and Carol put in about 25 hours in quality reviewing returns.”

Carol has also been volunteering for Faith in Action’s Friendly Buddy Program. She has been talking with clients, picking up groceries, delivering pizza and helping with home projects for her clients.

Laura Saegert

“I have supplied stacks of fabric to a friend who has been making masks. In April I started making masks for family, friends and co-workers. Not a lot, about 30.”

Martha Loer

Martha has been working on writing cards and notes to Drive A Senior clients who are alone during quarantine. She writing to give them support and encouragement. She is also donating blood platelets.

Don Saegert

Don Saegert is still volunteering to drive seniors to dialysis for Drive a Senior North Central. Laura Saegert is making masks. The two of them provided Easter dinner for 6 Drive A Senior clients who have no family or friends and are not able to cook.

TEXSAR Volunteers

TEXSAR members have volunteered over 5000 hours of service to the state of Texas since the lock-down began. TEXSAR leadership stays in constant communication with local agencies and state authorities in efforts to utilize our services in the best way possible. 

TEXSAR members are assisting COVID-19 testing centers in Harris County. Members are working 10-12 hour shifts supporting testing centers in whatever capacity is needed.

25 TEXSAR members helped sort food at the Central Texas Food Bank.

TEXSAR aided Central Texas EOC Logistics. TEXSAR has extensive experience and training in IMT and Logistics. Members worked 12 hours shifts in the EOC in Austin, Texas, to support Travis County and the City of Austin.

TEXSAR aided Central Texas EOC Medical Logistics. TEXSAR Medics have extensive experience and training in IMT and Logistics. Members worked 12 hours shifts in the EOC in Austin, Texas, to support Travis County and the City of Austin.

TEXSAR hosted Blood Drives in Central Texas. TEXSAR supported Central Texas Blood banks by working with We Are Blood to put on two Blood Drives.

Nola Marie Dilworth 

My “Shelter in Place” for the month of April has turned into a “Shredding in Place Project” for me with old bank statements dating back to the year 2011. To keep up with the number of  5 volunteer hours I served everyday with one agency before the  Coronavirus put a halt to it I tried to commit my Shredding in Place Project hours to the same number of 5 hours each day.

I not only see my Shelter/Shred in Place Project as a way to take up time, but I also see it as being my protection and refuge from being a victim of fraud.

When I first started thinking about my “Shredding in Place Project” I was reminded of how my mother would gather all her old mail that included old receipts, junk mail, and old bank statements, and after gathering them all together she would place them in a pit in our backyard and burn them. She would always tell me to never throw anything in the trash with my name and account number on it.

Then I was reminded of an unfortunate event that happened to my friend’s brother, who identity was turned upside down after someone rummaged through his trash and took out all his mail that he thought was insignificant, but someone found it to be a treasure because they opened up many credit cards in his name, and yes it took many, many years to get his own identity back.

When shredding my bank statements I go page by page, starting at the top, cutting off the name of the bank, cutting off my PMA account number and date. Then I check the front and back of each sheet for my name again and account number. I look for any account history, portfolio summary, account profile, activity detail by date, credit card account numbers and Last but not least I get to all my check image statements, and that’s when I cut the names off the tops of my checks, cut up my signatures at the bottom of the checks along with routing numbers and account numbers at the bottom of the checks. Yes, my “Shredding in Place Project” might seem tedious and time consuming, but guess what, it will take you much longer to reclaim your own identification.

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