Y-12 helps provide ongoing care for people during COVID-19

  • Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2021, 11:42 am

Emory Valley Center staff members
Emory Valley Center staff members are appreciative of the grant from CNS that was used to purchase personal protective equipment for employees.

CNS continues to look for ways to help our communities toward recovery as the COVID-19 pandemic eases its grip. The company recently turned to the East Tennessee Foundation and its Neighbor to Neighbor Fund to join with the CNS Community Investment Fund. Together, we were able to quickly get much needed resources to several nonprofit organizations in East Tennessee.

Emory Valley Center
Emory Valley Center supports about 3,000 people every year in multiple East Tennessee counties through behavioral health, community integration, education, employment, family assistance, prevocational training, and residential services. Often these clients have intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities. Providing direct residential care to these clients during the pandemic meant that EVC employees became essential employees who required personal protective equipment to perform their jobs. When the pandemic started, the center had only enough personal protective equipment to supply one staff member for one week.

Thanks in part to a $2,500 grant from CNS, direct care continued safely with much needed PPE and additional hazard pay for some EVC employees.

“With these funds, in addition to other grants secured, EVC was able to provide a safer work environment and help compensate our frontline employees for putting themselves at risk when caring for people we support,” said Jennifer Enderson, EVC president.

The center provides residential support (in-home care) to 103 people living at 51 residential sites in Oak Ridge and surrounding areas. Over the past year, prices for masks increased from less than $1 each to $6 each. To safely perform its duties, EVC estimated that 1,695 masks and other protective equipment for direct care staff would be needed. Grant money helped make that possible.

“Even though we were fortunate the COVID-19 vaccine was available for people we support and staff in late January and mid February, we continue to be diligent with safety protocols recommended by the CDC,” said Enderson. “It’s imperative to have enough supplies and create the safest work environment possible for our essential staff while ensuring the people we support are cared for safely during the pandemic.

“We are grateful for the support for Emory Valley Center, particularly in such a challenging time while the pandemic occurred and is ongoing,” she added.