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A New Season
Rev. Toya Richards tapped to lead TRUST as Executive Director
Rev. Toya Richards, a pastor, faith-based leader and veteran communications professional, has been hired to guide TRUST into the next phase of its life as an agency committed to community service. Richards, who was unanimously approved as Executive Director by the TRUST Board of Directors, took the helm June 15. She comes to the position having served as a pastor and associate minister in congregations in Wisconsin and Kentucky, as a denominational leader in both the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Alliance of Baptists, and as an entrepreneur focused on social justice. Richards also has 30 years of experience as a communicator, and her portfolio includes writing and editing positions with the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader, the Burlington (VT) Free-Press and the Chicago (IL) Sun-Times.
“I couldn’t be more pleased to join TRUST leadership, staff, congregational partners and all of our committed volunteers in the vital work that TRUST has been engaged in for 50 years,” Richards said. “I look forward to building on the legacy of those who have faithfully served TRUST to this point, and will work collaboratively to guide the agency into the next season of its life.”
Richards, a native of Louisville, Ky., holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Western Kentucky University and a master of divinity degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She is currently working on a doctor of ministry degree, with an emphasis in pastoral care, from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. She also is an ordained minister through a congregation affiliated with the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
TRUST Loaves & Fishes: Volunteer now to help TRUST serve a community meal July 27 at the Loaves & Fishes site at St. Stephen’s, 2123 Clinton Avenue S. TRUST teams assist Loaves & Fishes on the 4th Monday of every odd month. To help, call TRUST at 612-827-6159.
Other Program Updates
Meals on Wheels: Since beginning in 1973 we have prided ourselves on the daily in-person delivery of a hot, fresh meal which also serves as a check-in with the recipient. In the annual survey, 43 percent said the Meals on Wheels meal is usually or often the only food they eat each day, and 46 percent said that the MOW delivery volunteer is usually or often the only person they see each day. Now with Covid, we have lost our corporate drivers, and some of our elderly drivers are sheltering. We put a call out on Next Door and to Metro Meals on Wheels asking for volunteers, and 40 people signed up. Still, to mitigate risk, we are now delivering frozen meals once a week to our clients. It’s the same amount of food, just all at once. We will return to daily deliveries as soon as possible. Twenty new clients also have been added because of the virus.
Since the change in delivery and with everyone being more isolated, Meals on Wheels has created a buddy system for our clients. This volunteer buddy calls the client once or twice a week to check on them and see if their basic needs are being met. If the volunteer cannot directly help the client, they will report back to the office so the appropriate resource will be found. The goals of the buddy system are to help clients feel more comfortable during this unprecedented time, to help ease any loneliness, and to provide another layer of support.
Chore Program: Yard spring cleanup has begun and the mowing list for summer has been developed. Of those responding to their annual survey, 89 percent said TRUST Chore services helped them to continue to live safely in their own homes. Many Chore clients have no family nearby and are isolated. So, we’ve offered the same buddy system that Meals on Wheels has implemented to our Chore clients.
Parish Nursing: Our parish nurse, Ann Dunagan, is answering lots of phone calls and emails and checking in with clients.
Grocery Transportation: Under normal circumstances our grocery transportation driver, Sandy Parnell, picks people up and takes them grocery shopping. We have four routes a week. Now, in the current context of COVID, Sandy gets the grocery list by phone, enters it into an online delivery service app, picks up the groceries and delivers them to the clients. Until we resume normal operations, no new clients can will be added. Please stay tuned for changes.