Donna Ellerby, chair of Sylvan Lake Community Partners, sits at her desk in the facility, which is now open after extensive cleaning and reorganizing. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Sylvan Lake Community Partners reorganizes to better serve clients

The facility was thoroughly cleaned and reorganized during its shutdown due to COVID-19

The staff at Sylvan Lake Community Partners used the quiet the pandemic lock down brought them to clean and reorganize their facility.

Donna Ellerby, chair of the charitable organization, says the newly cleaned and organized space has helped the staff to better help their clients.

“Each of our program rooms have been completely cleaned out and reorganized… You can easily see everything that is in each room,” Ellerby said.

Community Partners’ most used program room, the medi-lend, got a makeover to better serve clients. The small room didn’t have enough floor space to properly house all of the equipment, so the staff took the items vertical but adding hooks to the wall.

Ellerby says the medi-lend is the most accessed of the programs offered by the organization.

“I do the stats, and when you look at any given month you will see that the medi-lend is accessed nearly everyday, sometimes more than once in a day,” she said.

The newly reorganized space also includes new shelving for the garage sale room, all of which has been donated. The space now allows visitors to easily see what items are for sale, and can look based on categories as well.

When the garage sale is over, the space will be used for Coats for Kids, which begins in October.

The yearly garage sale is the biggest fundraiser for the charity, and COVID-19 precautions did put a hamper on sales early on.

“For some of the bigger items the girls would put it up on Facebook and sell it that way… I don’t think we will run the garage sale longer than usual, because it then cuts into the Coats for Kids program,” Ellerby said.

The biggest change for staff and clients would be the front space and the intake of items dropped off at the facility.

A new protocol has been put in place so the staff at Community Partners will be ready to accept new donations in the near future.

Items will now have to brought to the back door on Tuesday or Thursday, when a staff member is on the clock specifically to handle donations.

“Our new staff member has it all organized back there to take stuff in, set it aside for a few days, and then organize it to be brought out,” Ellerby said.

All donations that are brought in will go into a type of isolation to ensure the safety of staff and clients.

All items returned to Community Partners, such as medical equipment, will also be isolated before being thoroughly disinfected.

“We went through a course to learn how to properly clean and disinfect all the equipment,” said Ellerby.

Now, clients are allowed back into the building, though the numbers are limited, and clients first have to be buzzed in through the front door and sanitize their hands.

“Even when we were closed to the public we were still helping our clients. We are an essential service, much like the food bank,” said Ellerby.

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