While much of 2020 has passed in a blur of uncertainty and upheaval, most people remember the week of March 9. During that week, much of the country began to realize the public health threat of COVID-19; by Friday, March 13, initial efforts to "flatten the curve" were begun as evidenced in closed schools, businesses, places of worship, and more. First Lady Jennie Gordon quickly moved to bring a group of people together to create the First Lady's COVID-19 Task Force, and on March 17, the Task Force "met" for the first time over a conference call (didn't switch to Zoom calls until April!) to discuss the impending challenges and develop action plans to mitigate those challenges. Task Force members include:
First Lady Jennie Gordon Ashley Bright, Chief Executive Officer: Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming
Elizabeth Dillow, Owner: Elizabeth Dillow LLC
Sharon Fain, Vice President of Rocky Mountain Power, Wyoming Heather Fleming, Co-Founder: WY Lit Tamra Jackson, Nutrition Supervisor: Wyoming Department of Education Tom Lacock, Associate State Director, Communications and State Advocacy: AARP Rita Meyer, Director of Infrastructure Investment: Rocky Mountain Power Trista Ostrom, Chief of Staff: First Lady Jennie Gordon’s Office Annemarie Picard, Chair: Wyoming Governor’s Residence Foundation Jamie Purcell, Executive Director: Wyoming Food For Thought Tim Sheppard, Rocky Mountain District Governor: Kiwanis Arin Waddell, Founder & School Board Member: The Food Group, Sheridan County School District #2 Tony Woodell, Director: Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies
After that first phone call in March, the First Lady's COVID-19 Task Force has met regularly throughout 2020. Through this frequent communication, commitment to problem-solving, and ability to quickly build and maintain meaningful partnerships, the Task Force has stayed true to its original mission of ensuring no child or senior goes hungry. It has been difficult work—often compared to building a car as it drives across the Autobahn—but work that has produced significant relief, strategies, and solutions for thousands of Wyoming residents affected by the pandemic.
As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the world and across Wyoming, the work of the First Lady's COVID-19 Task Force continues. The Task Force remains committed to the idea that together we'll see this through, no matter how arduous the challenges continue to be. Wyoming Hunger Initiative invites you to read the Task Forces' progress report to better understand some of the challenges and accomplishments the members have tackled this year.