How Our Clients Are Getting Us through the Pandemic

By Sara Veltkamp—


A lot of you have been reaching out and asking how the team at Minerva Strategies is doing. We’re not going to mince wordsit’s been challenging timeWe like to hug and do best when spending time with the incredible people in our networks. Working from home, not seeing our familiesfriends, clients, and colleagues inperson has taken a toll on our well-being. 


Fortunately, we have incredible clients who are getting us through. While they’ve been depending on us for clear communication to their donors, supporters, and staff, we’ve been depending on them for inspiration and motivation—and they have delivered. We’re getting through this together.


Evergreen Treatment Services (ETS) provides opioid addiction treatment and a range of services for people who are experiencing homelessness in western Washington. Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the Pacific Northwest, ETS was working tirelessly on the related crises of homelessness and the opioid epidemic. They’re continuing to do so, but now the work is even more challenging.


Everyone has struggled with stay-at-home orders, but for those without a home, that struggle borders on the absurd. Similarly, for people who depend on daily medication to manage their recovery from addiction, the challenge of going to ETS’s clinics every day is an added burden to an already difficult situation.


ETS has stepped up to address the challenges their patients and clients are facing.


First, they’ve coordinated with WA state and federal authorities to modify the tightly controlled protocols around the medications they dispense for clients. This reduces the number of patients in their clinics at one time. At the same time, they’re providing opportunities for patients to connect with medical providers and counselors through telehealth, ensuring that people have access to care providers they depend on while also allowing more of their staff to work safely from home.


For people who are homeless, many of the regular services they rely on to meet basic needs have been closed or operate on limited hours due to social distancing guidelines and volunteer gaps. Without open public facilities, many people in encampments around the city have nowhere to use a bathroom or wash their hands. Further, many people in Seattle depend on ready-to-eat meal programs and unfortunately, these services are not safe to operate during this crisis.


ETS’s outreach care coordinators have been working creatively to get food and sanitation supplies to people in need, as well as advocating in front of Seattle City Council to have hygiene facilities reopened with support from social service providers.


ETS is currently running a series of blog posts from the perspectives of their staff in the clinics and those doing homeless outreach. Check out their blog to hear how they are supporting patients and clients while keeping themselves healthy.


People who are homeless in the Seattle region are not the only ones struggling with food insecurity. Northwest Harvest is a food distribution network that supplies healthy food to food banks and meal programs across Washington state. In response to the crisis, they have gone into hyperdrive, changing their distribution logistics, mobilizing more provisions than ever before to make sure the thousands of people who are out of jobs and children who are out of school do not go hungry during this crisis.


Northwest Harvest’s SODO Community Market in Seattle is open for regular hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. To best comply with social distancing recommendations, the Market has been converted to a grocery bag pickup location—including curbside service for people who don’t want to leave their cars. For many living in the SODO area, this food bank is the only resource they have for healthy, nutritious food.


While distributing greater amounts of healthy food and keeping SODO Market open have been critical, that’s not where Northwest Harvest stops. As a food justice organization, they also raise their voices and the voices of their community to strengthen and defend state and federal food programs. By protecting programs like SNAP, they ensure that food gets distributed in a just and equitable way. To learn more about Northwest Harvest’s response, see their COVID-19 Hunger Response Fund page.


To ensure that more people can be inspired by our clients’ incredible dedication, the next several posts on the Goddess Speaks will highlight their work to support the most vulnerable people through this crisis. We hope you read, enjoy, and gain as much hope for the future as we do from interacting with these incredible organizations every day.

About The Author

Sara Veltkamp

Sara Veltkamp

Vice President

Sara lives in Chicago, Illinois and is Minerva's vice president. She takes a lead role in all aspects of Minerva Strategies’ smart communication strategies and implementation. She loves a challenge and is obsessed with learning new things, from how to use new platforms and tools for storytelling to languages like Amharic, French, or Farsi to mastering a difficult yoga pose. She applies this energy and curiosity to all clients’ communication challenges. Learn more about Sara.