The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has asked Southern Baptist Disaster Relief to fill the gaps in crucial wraparound services for senior citizens across our nation, PA/SJ Disaster Relief Director Kenton Hunt announced on March 16.
These services include grocery and prescription delivery, food preparation, and chaplaincy services, he said.
That means your church can become involved in the front lines of this effort.
We want to be on the front-end of this response,” said Hunt, noting state and municipal entities will collect information on needs and pass them onto the Disaster Relief incident management team. This team then will reach out to local churches to identify those needs and ask for churches to respond accordingly.
In preparation, Hunt urges interested churches to start sanitizing their kitchens now. They will be contacted with information regarding food safety and food preparation as needed. Churches without kitchens may assist with delivery of food and other items, under safety protocols.
For the protection of the senior citizens and the volunteer(s), churches will arrange delivery times with the residents, place the deliveries outside their front door, and then will return to their cars and call or text them back to tell them it has arrived. Volunteer chaplains and other church leaders will follow up with a phone call to ensure the recipient has gotten what they need and to otherwise check up on and pray for them.
“We are going to do everything we can to provide resources to the elderly and those with compromised health,” said Hunt. He said each scenario will be different. Some churches will need to respond to one or two cases; others may need to respond to the entire needs of a senior center. He expressed his gratitude in advance for all the churches who will step up during this critical time.
Acknowledging the “enormous” responsibility, Hunt shared the following prayer requests:
- Please pray for Kenton and the leadership team that is forming for this response, not just here in Pennsylvania and South Jersey, but across the nation.
- Pray that churches do not miss this opportunity to meet the urgent needs in their community.
One final note, Hunt said if churches are already aware of needs in their communities, they don’t need to wait for the Disaster Relief team. “Go ahead and care for your neighbors now,” he said.