It was early in 2020 when most of us first heard of COrona VIrus Disease 19 (COVID-19), an upper respiratory tract infection brought on by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Few had any idea that we were in for an echo of the Spanish Flu of 1918, a global illness that infected about one-third of the world’s population and persisted for more than two years.

Now, at the beginning of 2021, social service agencies and organizations look back at 2020 and the many challenges society faced in dealing with this pandemic. Chronic issues that social service agencies address—financial strains caused by temporary unemployment, hunger, domestic violence, and others—became acute for many people during 2020. Like many other government agencies and social service organizations, the staff at Jeremiah Development embraced the opportunity to do more than ever before. 

At the end of 2020, did we see a light at the end of the tunnel? We sure did. On Dec. 11, 2020, the Food & Drug Administration approved one vaccine for emergency use and is reviewing a second. These efforts, along with what we know about wearing face coverings and keeping our distance from each other, mean that we’re moving in the right direction, and we can envision a return to our normal lives, or at least something closer to normal. 

However, this doesn’t mean our work relative to this pandemic, dealing with acute levels of social stress, is done. Far from it. Until all of the government mitigation steps are lifted for good, until all businesses have recovered, and until everyone is back to work, the folks at the social service agencies will be hard at work, assisting the residents of Rockford until this is over. 

If you’re one of the blessed many who haven’t missed a paycheck and can spare a few dollars for a donation, you can be assured that every amount helps. If you run a business and you’re interested in sponsoring some of our activities, please call. Finally, if you’re inclined to donate your time and energy, we certainly are interested in volunteers for or many programs.