Reports on Chattanooga Ministries Impacted by COVID-19
As Chattanoogans self-quarantine and social distance to stop the spread of COVID-19, many local nonprofit ministries face an uncertain plight. Donation drives and events have been canceled for Bethel Bible Village, Bible in the Schools, Scenic City Women’s Network, and many others, creating a significant loss of annual income. Volunteers are being turned away to stop the spread of infection, and thrift shops are being shut down for the foreseeable future. Through these obstacles, Chattanooga’s ministries are working harder than ever to adapt and provide much-needed care. Here are some of the types of organizations that are meeting the essential needs of low-income communities.
Community-Based Ministries – Chattanooga ministries are often situated in neighborhoods working directly with residents. Quarantine has limited human contact while increasing the needs in low-income communities. Because of this situation, one of the first issues many nonprofit ministries face is how to continue their operations effectively. For instance, Shepherd’s Arms Rescue Mission is putting residents and others they serve in area motels during the quarantine, and House of Refuge has received new residents on early release from jail who are looking for employment. Many other Chattanooga-area ministries are struggling to adjust and need donor assistance more than ever.
Food Security – COVID-19 has made food security an issue for many. Due to job loss, food stockpiling, and an increase in American food prices, it has become harder for those with low incomes to have an adequate food supply.
COVID-19 has also created some unforeseen food security issues. For example, when Hamilton County Schools closed down, many students who had depended upon school lunches for food were suddenly left without a dependable meal. Hamilton County Schools addressed this issue by having its bus drivers and volunteers deliver food meals to kids.
The Chattanooga Area Food Bank said they anticipate a “30% increase” in the need for their services over the coming weeks and months due to the pandemic. Food security is a real issue facing many, and we want to ensure that food banks and food ministries can continue their services and give Chattanoogans access to the meals they need.
Other ministries, such as Hope for the Inner City and Union Gospel Mission, are providing meals to an ever-increasing number of individuals and families in their neighborhoods.
Elder Care – According to the CDC, COVID-19’s mortality rate is considerably higher among older patients, meaning it is more important than ever to care for our elderly right now. “The majority of people try to downplay this, and it’s true, the majority of people probably won’t get coronavirus,” said Hamilton County health officer Dr. Paul Hendricks. “But there is a population out there, elderly people with chronic problems, for whom we know this virus causes an increased risk.” Because of this, area ministries are reaching out to the elderly. One example is The Bethlehem Center. Their purposeful community connection outreach to seniors provides necessary cleaning and sanitizing supplies, as well as food pantry items.
The elderly, the most vulnerable in our communities, should not be neglected, and we can ensure their needs are met by seeing that ministries which care for the elderly are properly supplied and funded in the coming months.
Health Care – In the midst of a global health crisis, it is more essential than ever to see that our community clinics remain open and supplied. The spread of COVID-19 has put an undue financial strain on many health clinics and has also forced many clinics to rework their systems to ensure that, for example, a patient with an underlying condition is not put in contact with a patient who comes in with COVID-19 symptoms.
LifeSpring Community Health, which serves an at-risk population 21 and under, has suspended well-care visits to concentrate on illness-related visits. Choices Pregnancy Resource Center is already seeing an increase in calls from women needing their resources.
It is vital to many low-income communities that Chattanooga’s health ministries remain open and operational, not just to combat the spread of COVID-19, but also to provide essential care to patients facing any number of conditions.
We at The Generosity Trust want to make sure that area ministries can continue their missions, and the most vulnerable in our city have access to essential services and goods, which is why we have launched GeneroCity. When you donate to GeneroCity, 100% of your donation will support Chattanooga-area ministries that are on the front lines serving vulnerable neighborhoods and individuals. GeneroCity is just one way The Generosity Trust carries forward the vision of our founder, Dora Maclellan Brown, who gave generously from her financial resources to prosper Chattanooga.
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