As non-profits look to rebound from the restrictions imposed during the pandemic, many have had to change the way they operate to continue serving their clients and the community.
One organization in Santa Maria has been doing things differently in order to stay open.
From anything from hostessing to dishwashing and even prep cooking, VTC Enterprises serves as a training and employment organization for people with disabilities. Many of those people work at The “A" Street Café.
"It's been okay, just slow. I wish we can come back when we used to, like being more busier and more packed and for us to be doing more stuff," employee Natasha Molina said.
Molina has been working for VTC Enterprises for three years and although things look very different due to the pandemic, she says she's happy to still be working.
Meanwhile, the organization is now working with many of its other clients remotely, according to CEO Jason Telander.
"We've equipped all of our instructors with Google Chromebooks, they’ve got WiFi access and then you can see there with IPS we are printing out activity packets and other remote learning activities," Telander said.
According to Telander, staff also provide each individual with essential services they might need on a daily basis.
"We are saying, you know, can we help pick up a prescription, do you need help getting to a doctor's appointment, you know, we can get an errand run and go to CVS, pick up anything you might need or again like I said, DoorDash food," he said.
For Robin Patten, who is in charge of The “A” Street Cafe, the hardest thing during this closure is that the people they serve aren’t able to go back to training and working.
"The structure and the consistency and the stability that this provides for them and the pride in knowing that they're coming to their job every day has been really, really hard on them so us coming to visit them and reassure them that, hey your job is still there and we are thinking of you, and that connection is very important," Patten said.
For now, Telander says adapting is all they can do to ensure everyone’s safety.
“We are doing everything we can to provide safe services to you at this time and we are doing everything we can as a community to try and have people be safe and getting our organization back to in-person services at some point,” Telander said.
Although in-person service is on hold for now, the organization says The "A” Street Cafe will remain open Monday through Friday for to-go orders only.
VTC Enterprises also run Innovative Printing Solutions in Santa Maria, which is currently open by appointment only.