Coronavirus is having a deep impact on our communities, well beyond the virus itself. Many are hurting from the impacts of social distancing and quarantines, and even more are struggling in the economic aftermath.
At The FAMiLY Leader, we are looking for ways we can be a blessing to our communities, and we wanted to take an opportunity to share 7 potential ways you can help others, too:
1. Pray: The most important thing the people of God can do right now is pray. Yes, pray for containment and cure and for those sickened by the disease. Pray for those who are mourning death today. But pray also for governing leaders as they make difficult decisions, many struggling to balance public health needs and economic implications. And pray for churches, that God will give pastors wisdom in leading their congregations and serving their communities.
2. Reach out to a neighbor: Many around us do not have a church fellowship to fall back on in these times of isolation. If there is someone you have been meaning to have over for a meal or to bring a gift to, consider doing it now. Many of our elderly neighbors, in particular, need someone to deliver meals or take them to a doctor’s appointment. There may be community organizations near you that help the elderly and that need volunteers now more than ever. You never know how God will use these incredible opportunities.
3. Give to local food banks: Perhaps the most urgent need right now, we’re hearing from community and government leaders, is food banks. With schools closing, and with even more Iowans economically displaced, the needs continue to grow. Iowa has divided its food banks into parent organizations. We recommend reaching out to your parent organization to learn of their specific needs. The most universally communicated need is funds. For example: Food Bank of Iowa is expecting to spend $80,000 a day to meet needs, a number significantly higher now than during typical operation.
River Bend Food Bank (Davenport): https://riverbendfoodbank.org/
Northeast Iowa Food Bank (Waterloo): https://www.northeastiowafoodbank.org/
Food Bank of Iowa (Central Iowa): https://www.foodbankiowa.org/
DMARC (Des Moines Metro): http://www.dmarcunited.org
Food Bank of Siouxland (Sioux City): https://siouxlandfoodbank.org/
HACAP Food Reservoir (Hiawatha): https://www.hacap.org/
4. Keep giving to your churches: As many churches will not have services over a prolonged period of time, it is important that we as attenders do not cut back on giving. Times like these can be a huge strain on church budgets.
5. Give to church benevolence funds: The virus is having a significant impact on our economy and will result in many people in our churches and communities having hours cut, or losing their job all together. Consider giving to a benevolence fund or something like it in your church to help those who are in urgent economic need.
6. Be ready, willing, and available to serve: Over the coming days, The FAMiLY Leader’s Church Ambassador Network will continue to coordinate with churches across the state on ways we can best assist our communities. And many churches are already laboring in your community right now. We recommend letting your church know that you are ready, willing, and available to serve and intentionally looking for opportunities to serve in your community. The Next Door app and Facebook are wonderful ways to find opportunities of needs.
7. Support local restaurants: As restaurant dining rooms are closed across the state, locally-owned small businesses will be taking a huge hit. Unfortunately, many will not be able to re-open their doors. If you are able, consider ordering food “to go” from some of your favorite local places. This helps keep important cash flow for the business, as well as keep hourly people employed.
These are just a few of the many ways you can be a blessing and a light. We are sure you have many great ideas of your own. Above all, let us all encourage each other in Jesus, love one another, and keep our eyes on Him, that we may walk with Him and in His peace in this time of storm.