Photographed: Beth Armstrong, Lynn Ware Peek, and Ellen Silver
Since our community started seeing the dramatic health and economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve identified three outstanding leaders who are assisting healthcare workers, small business owners, elderly populations, gig economy workers, communities of color, and residents without health insurance, benefits, or English language proficiency.
Beth Armstrong, Lynn Ware Peek, and Ellen Silver have all been Women’s Giving Fund members for several years and they are leading the efforts to address emergency financial assistance, healthcare, and mental health in Summit, Wasatch and Salt Lake counties during the COVID-19 crisis. They have been working countless hours to build resiliency in our community and we are so proud of their hard work.
Beth Armstrong is the Executive Director of People’s Health Clinic, providing quality, no-cost healthcare to the uninsured of Summit and Wasatch Counties. During this COVID-19 crisis, Beth and her team have been setting up telemedicine systems to prevent the spread of the virus and allow medical providers to continue to care for patients who don’t require in-person visits. They have also tackled the challenge of sourcing more PPE supplies (gowns, shoe covers, face-masks, and more), and are coordinating staff to help manage patient flow at the door so that healthcare workers, and prenatal and chronically ill patients that must visit the clinic can remain safe.
“Over the past several weeks during this unprecedented time, we’ve come to realize how critical it is that those hardest working among us continue to have access to quality healthcare,” says Beth.
Lynn Ware Peek is Park City Municipal’s Community Engagement Liaison, coordinating community outreach efforts, citizen-engagement initiatives, and emergency communications. She was also a Park City Council member from 2018 to 2020. Lynn has focused her efforts in two ways during the Coronavirus pandemic. First, she’s helping convene leaders in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors to best understand the needs in our community during the crisis. Secondly, she has been putting together a neighborhood network coalition to foster communication so that greater Park City will have an established rapid news network in the future. For the last few years Lynn has also housed J1 visa holders (seasonal workers) by renting her place at an attainable rate during the winter months and hopes to inspire other community members to consider following her example.
“So often, we don’t know how to handle another group, or reach out to another group, or build bridges to another group, because we just don’t know what makes them tick,” Lynn said. “So I think that’s a job of all of us in the community.”
Ellen Silver is the Executive Director of Jewish Family Services, one of the oldest nonprofits in Utah providing affordable mental health services and basic needs assistance in Park City and Salt Lake City for people of all backgrounds. Ellen has been leading efforts in the last four weeks to keep up with their emergency assistance program, which has reached its historical peak in requests for assisting families in crisis who desperately need help covering rent, bills, and other crucial expenses. Additionally, Ellen has been working to set up a virtual platform for community-based programs such as the caregiver support program, and the mindfulness skill building group. Lastly, Ellen continues to fundraise for JFS so that mental health counselors can meet with clients who are facing increased anxiety and depression during these difficult times.
Ellen says, “It’s heartbreaking to see the stress and worry that many families are experiencing. We want to get the word out to people who might hesitate to ask for help, that it’s really okay to do that at this time. We are doing everything we can to help with rent, utilities, medication, and mental health services.”
Our gratitude goes out to Beth, Ellen and Lynn for demonstrating strength as community leaders working on the frontlines of COVID-19.