Generous hearts are a trademark of the people of this great state! As fears and uncertainty grow, faith-based and nonprofit organizations who are intimately familiar with the people and needs in their communities, are setting up plans and systems to care for those most at risk.
The famous system of “phone trees” to stay in touch are gaining new respect as a way to maintain contact with the elderly across the state. Churches and other houses of worship are adopting residents in low income housing who are most at-risk, agreeing to check in with them daily. Coordinating with food banks and transportation resources, nutritional needs are met, and critical visits for regular medical treatments (eg: dialysis, infusions) can be arranged. But most important, a social need is met, new friendships blossom, and people are connected.
Counties throughout the state are delivering food to the elderly and people who are immune-compromised. School buses are dropping off meals and food bags at their regular stops. Anderson County is initiating drive-through community meals. In Hamilton County more than 1,500 “activity bags” including puzzles, word games, crafts, books and activities are being delivered to housing for senior adults. Extras will go to neighborhoods. There has been a call put out for “many hands, many vans” to help organize and distribute resources.
Faith-based communities, nonprofits, and local governments are establishing task forces to address the needs of every sector of our communities. Many people are already living on the edge, and this crisis will require all of us to sacrifice to help others. Simple ideas include:
• Adopt a hairdresser, service worker, retail sales person who has lost a job. Help where needed, and be their friend and person to contact in need.
• Support those who are working overtime to keep hospitals, utilities, grocery stores, delivery and logistics systems in place by helping them with meals and child care.
• Donate money and time to help community food banks meet the nutritional needs of the community.
• Remember those on the margins – the homeless, the immigrants, the elderly – and reach out to lend a hand.
It is an honor to live in a state that values the power of volunteerism.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” Proverbs 3:27