COVID-19 has upended most of our lives in at least some significant ways, but that hasn’t stopped religious individuals and groups from continuing to provide support for the vulnerable folks who need it most. Since many religions involve some aspect of community service, this article explores how different individuals and organizations have supported the wider community so far during the course of the coronavirus pandemic:
Serving the Community
Hundreds, if not thousands, of religious groups have gone above and beyond to serve their communities during the COVID-19 outbreak. There are simply too many wonderful acts of kindness to mention all of them here, but some of the highlights have included:
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated over $5.5 million to COVID-19 relief efforts across the U.S. and sponsored over 280 COVID-19 relief projects across 280 countries (as of April 2020)
- UNITED SIKHS, driven by the Sikh tradition of seva (selfless service), prepared and donated over 1 million meals to those in need (as of April 2020)
- Catholic Charities donated $400 million in COVID-19 relief, including monetary assistance for rent and utilities, meals, masks, etc. (as of August 2020)
- Islamic Circle of North America regularly prepares and delivers meals and cleaning supplies to the elderly, homeless and other vulnerable populations
- This March 2020 article from Christianity Today does an excellent job of highlighting the numerous ways Christians and their church groups have been significantly increasing their donation and volunteer efforts during COVID-19
- Islamic Relief USA committed $1.9 million to COVID-19 relief efforts across the U.S. to increase their food support, hygiene kits and monetary assistance for needy individuals and families
In March and April, it was incredibly challenging to get large quantities of masks made and distributed quickly in most places across the U.S. Fortunately, there were many religious groups and organizations who stepped up to the challenge by hosting their own mask donation drives and/or donating their own supplies of masks to members of the community.
Some notable stories that have come out in recent months include: Virginia Beach’s Rock Church donating 4,000 N-95 masks to healthcare workers, Fayetteville’s Manna Church donating 7,000 N-95 masks to healthcare workers after discovering an extra supply in their disaster relief storage, and members of Gateway Community Church in Merced, California refurbishing nearly 8,000 expired N-95 face masks — donated by the UCSF Medical Center — and delivering masks to protect vulnerable homeless people in the area.
In Indianapolis, Indiana, a couple of technology entrepreneurs partnered with over a dozen local churches to raised enough money for over 200,000 N-95 masks to donate to local healthcare workers. These are just some of the countless acts of extraordinary compassion and community service we’ve witnessed from various religious communities in the U.S. since the pandemic began, and many groups and institutions continue supporting their communities by making and donating masks to those who need PPE the most.
Join Us for the Religious Freedom Panel on September 17
Our Constitution Day Symposium webinar series are coming up and on September 17 at 11:00am EST, First Amendment Voice is hosting a Religious Freedom Panel that is freely accessible to members and non-members alike. Mark your calendars now and visit our website for more updates as the date comes closer! https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_FzSWibEvSU2eWHN_j9aCpA