People – Passion – Professionalism: Staff experiences during the pandemic
Alex Imbesi, Senior Services Director
What do you like best about your job?
Working alongside the hard working, dedicated, and compassionate colleagues and volunteers.
What was it like working at CSA this past year during the pandemic? How did your job change? How did you flex, pivot and stretch to meet increasing client and/or agency need?
Working at CSA this past year during the pandemic has had its challenges, but really, whose job hasn’t? The team and I had to brainstorm ways on how to adapt the Senior Services Department to make sure we were still able to meet the needs of this vulnerable population while, at the same time, keep our clients, staff and volunteers safe. As an example, our Senior Nutrition Program went from having in person meals for about 135-150 clients to transitioning to a drive through meal pick up distribution for 185-210 clients. We had to rework our whole program in regards to how we would register new clients, check existing clients in, prepare and package to-go meals.
Was there a seminal moment/incident during this past year when you realized just how much the pandemic is/was impacting your clients and/or workload?
I work specifically with older adults. It was early on during the first shelter in place when I realized that many of our older adult clients did not have adequate support or resources to navigate the pandemic alone. The workload increased drastically trying to assist our clients and keep them safe at the same time. Multiple new processes and programs were created and adjusted to assist the needs of our older adult community.
What keeps you going at work during times of great uncertainty … like COVID-19?
Over the course of the pandemic I’ve reflected a number of times. I feel that this has helped me grow professionally. Working in the human services sector can be tough at times. Every person and every family that CSA works with comes to us with their own unique needs that arise for completely different reasons then adding on top of those individual challenges a worldwide pandemic increased our daily trials in trying to navigate the best options for our clients. When I am at the Senior Nutrition Program registering clients, distributing meals, or speaking with clients as they receive case management, I see and hear from them the gratitude and appreciation for the work that we are doing. It sure does make it all worth it to keep going during uncertain times.