How to Help During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Story by V. Michelle Bernard
“Historically, it is in crisis when the church has the most significant opportunity to live out its full mission of being the hands and feet of Jesus,” wrote Chad Stuart, senior pastor of Chesapeake Conference’s Spencerville church in Silver Spring, Md., in the church’s most recent e-newsletter. “When I say ‘the church,’ please note that I am not talking about the building, about programs, or events, or even preaching. When I say ‘the church,’ I’m speaking of the calling placed on each member to be a light of hope and help in their immediate proximity.”
To live this out, many members are searching for ways to help the more vulnerable in our communities. When in doubt, contact local non-profits or government agencies to see what local needs exist and the best ways to help. Several non-profits need healthy volunteers to deliver meals to senior citizens, the most at-risk population.
Some organizations, like Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington, are offering food and hygiene items for families who would normally receive meals at school but won’t be during the school closures. Check with local school districts to also see if they are in need of supplies.
Chesapeake's Adventist Community Services (ACS) is mapping and updating an inventory of human resources and food pantries available to serve in coordination with Maryland and Delaware food banks and given volunteers state safety protocols.
Other places, like Spencerville church and the New Jersey Confrence Youth Department, are organizing members to meet the needs of older members. Spencerville is organizing the delivery of supplies to its most vulnerable members and creating a membership assistance fund in anticipation of the economic impact of reduced work hours during this time.
Jeanette Dare, Adventist Community Services director for the Pennsylvania Conference, shared the following tips on how to support community members during this time, especially senior citizens who are housebound due to high health risk:
- Prepare packages and make post office runs for senior citizens
- Help prepare for their medical needs: Create a customized seven-day supply of medicines or include backup batteries for equipment they use. Locate where they have to go should their medical facility close.
- Open the church for child-care for children and grandchild of health care workers while schools are closed.
- Make and deliver World Health Organization’s recipe for homemade hand sanitizer. (See the recipe below.)
- Prepare an emergency grab-and-go bag (e.g., flashlight, blanket, ready-to-eat meals), and photocopy and include ID and medical insurance cards for senior citizens.
- Provide transportation for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program who offer free tax help for seniors over 60. Certified IRS volunteers specialize in pensions and retirement-related tax counseling. VITA receives grants from the IRS.
- Pre-plan how family members will get in touch with one another. Prepare phone numbers and email addresses for them, and choose an out-of-town person whom they all can contact to check in.
- Provide Beginner Computer 101 instruction and resource contact information.
"In some ways, I feel that church members are growing closer together," says New Jersey Conference Pastor Stephen Lee. "Crisis has always helped church growth starting with the early Christian church. I will be looking forward to seeing how people are turning this crisis into an opportunity."
Other Ways You Can Help
- Check up on family, friends, neighbors, church members. Use Facetime and social media to stay connected.
- Give blood. Not many people are talking about this, but the blood bank is critically low.
- Donate money to local organizations already active in communication.
- Take care of your own mental health.
World Health Organization’s Recipe for Hand Sanitizer
1+ 2/3 cups 91 percent Isopropyl Alcohol
2 teaspoons Glycerol
1 tablespoon Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 cup Distilled Water
Glycerol keeps hands moisturized from drying out. If glycerol is unavailable, use moisturizing cream after applying mixture.
Related Articles and Resources
- Adventists Adjust to Social Distancing--The New Normal
- Adventist Leaders Discuss Options for Upcoming General Conference Session
- Andrews University Transitions to Distance Education
- Columbia Union Conference Pathfinder Bible Exchange Postponed
- Estimada familia de la Unión de Columbia
- Help Maryland Families During Coronavirus Shutdown
- How to Help During the Coronavirus Outbreak
- How to Help Your Church Go Digital (Lots of resources)
- How to Support Older Adults
- Information Regarding COVID-19 from Adventist Risk Management
- Mount Olivet Members Answer Call to Service
- NAD Administration Provides Guidance for Church in North America During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Tips for Your Behavioral Health During an Infectious Disease Outbreak
- World Church Executive Committee Votes to Postpone General Conference Session