What Can I Do? Outreach in the Time of Coronavirus

Updated: Apr 12

By Debby Kirk

As the Coronavirus spreads from town to town and schools and businesses are shut down, many of us feel helpless and overwhelmed by the need we see around us.

The cabin pressure has dropped precipitously, and we have pulled on our own oxygen masks. Now we look around the cabin and begin to tend to the needs of others. How are the children? What about my neighbor?

Not everyone has the resources of mega-millionaire Ray Dalio who donated 60,000 Chromebooks to urban Connecticut students, but we can all do something to express compassion to those who are hurting. Even when we are isolated, we can be united in love! Try adopting one or two of these intentions each day. You will reduce fear and bless your community.

First, Pray

Pray for the sick and those who are shut inside, pray for hospital workers, pray for teachers and parents and students, pray for pastors and civic leaders, pray for grocery store clerks, pray for small business owners, for truck drivers, and sanitation workers, pray for folks who are homeless, or furloughed, or those who have been laid off.

“Prayer is a way to align the universe with the will of God.”

~ Rev. Jacqui Lewis

“While we are working to ‘flatten the curve of infection’, perhaps this time of isolation is an opportunity to accelerate our spiritual lives.”

~ Cameron Trimble

Check in

  • Find out how the neighbors are doing.

  • Instead of driving by and waving, take a moment to reach out to your neighbors by phone or email.

  • Take a walk down your street (or your hall) and leave a card with your name and number to introduce yourself to folks you may not have met.

  • Check in and offer to do grocery pick up or run an errand.

  • Create a Mutual Aid Network.

Send some Sunshine

  • Send a card or note to those who are shut-ins at nursing homes.

  • Drop off some flowers, or box of chocolates at a small business.

  • Leave a note for your mail carrier, hospital worker, or grocery store clerk and let them know you appreciate their work.

Get crafty

Feed the Hungry

Neighbors are experiencing financial trauma and food insecurity is soaring. Local non-profits are struggling to adapt and keep up with demand.

  • Send a cash donation to one of your congregation’s partner agencies.

  • Order seeds for your church ‘victory garden’ and start planting!

Shop Small, Eat Local

  • Support local restaurants by ordering a take-out meal.

Contribute to Parish Care

Your pastor and church leadership are providing spiritual support, alternative worship, and other virtual ministries. Help them continue their mission of caring during this crisis by honoring your pledge. Encourage church members to set up electronic bill pay through their own bank.

Build up the beloved community

Support these ongoing efforts that create real change in communities across the country and around the globe.

  • One Great Hour of Sharing What may seem like a small investment to us yields amazing results worldwide. With water, sanitation and adequate food, children are more likely to attend school, and women, no longer searching for water, are able to earn money to contribute to their families’ well-being and overall health. Stand with UCC congregations by lending a hand through support to the OGHS offering! Your financial assistance will directly help people and communities affected by disaster, violence and poverty. Your financial assistance will be an investment into the lives of people and communities who need it most. Give here

  • Other local, regional, national, and/or global agencies you trust that help the disenfranchised.

This is a time to respond with generosity. You can help the church to lean into this challenge and live the love and justice of Jesus.

Debby Kirk serves on the Discipleship Team of the Southern New England Conference UCC and oversees the Youth and Young Adult Ministries programs of the historic Connecticut Conference. She organizes leadership development programs for youth, including Thinking About Working for God for a Living for those considering ministry, the annual Youth Revival, and wider church trips for Youth @ Synod and the UCC National Youth Event.

A version of this blog was originally posted on the Southern New England Conference website March 24, 2020.


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