Responding to

“Alone we can do so little;
together we can do so much."

Helen Keller
Communities are often defined by their physical location. Sometimes they're defined by a shared set of traits among a group of people. Other times, they're defined by a shared set of beliefs. The term can be applied externally as a way for others to identify a specific group or it can be applied internally by those who wish to be defined by what they share with others.

The point is, "community" can look like many different things and can be defined in many different ways.

Kitchen Angels is a community. We have volunteers, staff, clients, donors, customers (of Kitchenality), and other supporters. We have young members of our community, older members, wealthy members and not-so-wealthy members. Some of our members are healthy and others are not. Nevertheless, we are all brought together, defined by our commitment to, and need for, the care and kindness we give to one another. And because we are willing to be defined, at least in part, by our connection to Kitchen Angels, we have an obligation to watch out for each other.

The pandemic has brought this obligation into sharper focus than ever before. And the obligation applies not just to our Kitchen Angels community, but to all communities.

Last week, the Governor announced changes to the state's public health order. The state's "gating criteria," a measurement of the public health data reflecting the incidence and spread of COVID-19, show that we've been successful in limiting the spread of the virus.

Given that success, the state is relaxing some restrictions, specifically:
  • Houses of worship may operate at 40 percent of maximum occupancy (as well as continue to conduct services outdoors or provide services through audiovisual means);
  • Restaurants, breweries, wineries, distillers, cafes, coffee shops or other similar businesses may again provide indoor dining service at 25 percent of maximum occupancy;
  • Some museums may operate at 25% capacity; and
  • Gatherings of up to 10 people are again allowed.

The changes took effect Saturday.

The Governor commented, “New Mexicans ought to be very proud of the progress we’ve made all together, but we’ve got to remember progress in our fight against this virus does not mean we can let our guard down.”

There's even talk that schools may re-open for limited in-person classes after Labor Day. To do that, though, requires that each school’s county meet gating criteria for the rate of new daily COVID-19 cases and test positivity. "We are all one community and our unequivocal priority – the safety and welfare of our children and school communities – is shared," said the state's Public Education Secretary Ryan Stewart.

What both the Governor and the Secretary are reminding us of is that what we do within the Kitchen Angels community, the effort we take to prevent COVID infection among our own community, affects other communities and their ability to function.

We're all one community.
Community unites us. Being a part of a community can make us feel we are a part of something greater than ourselves. It can give us opportunities to connect, to reach for our goals. It can help us feel safe. In an age where technology both connects us and separates us, having community can benefit our health and our well being and can increase our sense of contentment. With a community of people looking out for our best interests and working together for a common goal, there is no shortage of possibilities. A strong community provides an environment of safety and security. 

So, what we do at Kitchen Angels to reduce the risk of COVID-19 actually does more than just keep our own staff, volunteers and clients safe. It increases the likelihood that kids will be able to return to school, that their parents will be able to return to work, that local businesses will be able to re-hire their employees, and that our economy can begin to recover.

Never before has the impact each of us has on our greater community been so clear. Every risk I take puts others at risk, whether I realize it or not. Considering those risks and making wise choices is no longer simply a personal matter (perhaps it never was). It's a statement about who and what are important to me and where I see myself fitting into my community. It's about the Kitchen Angels community and the Santa Fe community. It's about schools, businesses, families, and the economy.

It's about all of us.

To each of you and the entire Kitchen Angels family, thank you for all you do, every day, to keep yourself and others safe and healthy.

In gratitude,
Thank you for your vigilance. We want you to stay safe, healthy and informed.
Before you return to volunteering . . .
ask yourself . . .

  1. Am I able to work a full shift wearing a face mask?
  2. Can I hear well enough from six feet away if the other person is speaking through a face mask?
  3. Am I willing to work a different shift than the one I previously worked?
  4. Can I commit to showing up to my shift on-time and without canceling at the last minute?
  5. Can I adapt to a new environment and new routine?
  6. Can I reliably communicate with the Volunteer Coordinator?
  7. Do I feel safe being back in the public sphere?
  8. Can I maintain appropriate risk-mitigating practices when I'm not at Kitchen Angels?

If you answer "NO" to any of these questions, you're not ready to return. If you're not sure, check with Lauren.