Much of West Bank CDC’s regular programing for Cedar Riverside community members has been suspended through at least the end of May due to Covid-19. Typically we would invite all of our neighbors to gather Mondays at the Augsburg University Food Lab for an afternoon of cooking and sharing a meal, and also to the Thursday afternoon craft group. A weekly sewing class has also been cancelled.
The community garden, however, is up and running with an expansion of seven additional garden plots. These were quickly put to use by gardeners who are happy to have the opportunity to be active outdoors as well as grow nourishing food. It is also a chance to see neighbors and chat at a safe distance.
To address needs created by the pandemic we have been reaching out to residents of WBCDC-owned affordable housing to identify households with loss of income and urgent needs. Food support is being provided to these families. We will continue to contact households with food assistance and connections to resources. We are finding many household have not been able to access Unemployment Insurance benefits, for example, because they don’t have information about eligibility and their rights, as well as language barriers, no access to a computer, and difficulties with phone access.
WBCDC’s is goal is to create opportunities for neighbors of all languages, skin colors, gender and belief systems to socialize and make connections. We will continue to review guidelines for safe gathering and develop activities as appropriate as well as provide support households with urgent need.