The Market Commons has temporarily closed their doors to help ensure the safety of our community in this COVID-19 crisis – but that doesn’t mean they’re sitting idly by. In fact, this mighty team is working harder than ever as they take an influx of calls, help community members with Market Community Safety Net applications, reach out to residents in isolation, and organize access to healthy food so that everyone can safely shelter-in-place.
We’ve highlighted The Commons before as “the living room of the Market”, particularly as a safe space for any member of the Market community. But this crisis has shown how The Commons truly lives up to being a central space where the most immediate challenges of the Market can be tackled. Here’s how this stellar staff is addressing some of the more pressing issues presented by COVID-19.
Preparing the Emergency Food Access Plan
One of the first needs The Market Commons tackled was ensuring all of the Market’s senior residents had access to a steady supply of groceries and meals, while supporting their ability to self- quarantine. The Market Commons partnered with the Pike Place Market PDA residential team and the Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank to adapt existing Market programs rapidly and start at-home food deliveries for senior residents. Learn more about our Emergency Food Access Plan here.
Assisting Market workers impacted by this crisis
The Commons serves as the base for Market Community Safety Net requests, a fund that supports individuals who live, work or access services in the Market community, are facing a sudden financial crisis and need support to regain stability. Since the COVID-19 crisis has started, they have already seen a steep increase of applications compared to previous years.
Applicants are more than just names on paper. Despite this overwhelming demand, staff is carefully reviewing applications and consulting personally with each applicant. The Commons staff follows up personally over phone and email, lending a friendly ear and providing support to Market community members who are out of work while facing ongoing living expenses. Staff also provide resources and community referrals to help each individual work towards long-term stability.
This commitment extends to providing ongoing support to each individual, checking in with them as this crisis continues and updating with new resource information.They even provide detailed instruction to anyone who’s less tech-savvy and needs aid filling in and understanding unemployment filings and other resources that change daily.
This is what makes their approach to the Market Community Safety Net so unique and special. The Commons is able to provide personal and moral support to the Market workers in need, while working side-by-side to help them navigate a complex system and secure funding and long-term support resources.
A Comforting Voice On the Other End
While we know Market residents are now safely indoors, we are also aware that isolation is a risk factor for depression and other mental illnesses. One of the core functions of The Market Commons is to be a welcoming place where residents, workers and neighbors can stop by even just to say “Hello!”. Now this social support that many residents and community members have come to benefit from (or simply enjoy) is closed for the moment.
But it’s hard to feel lonely when Resource Coordinator Velma calls! She’s known in the Market for her infectious positivity, and she’s spreading it as far as she can over the telephone. Velma and other staff are reaching out directly to community members who they know could use a pick-me-up in isolation and doing their part to give them some moments of connection and joy. Though this is just a small service, it means so much to people who count on this social support to brighten their day.
Through their fierce adaptability and strong spirit, The Market Commons exemplifies what a community-led response looks like.
Please help support The Market Commons as the need for their services continues to skyrocket in this COVID-19 crisis. Whatever you can contribute will go a long way in sustaining the future of Pike Place Market.