“In such a fearful world, we need a fearless church.” These words by C.S. Lewis hang on the wall at our COSILoveYou office, and have never been truer than they are today.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, it can seem easy to be overwhelmed by negative news and a sense of impending crisis. Times like these are when the faith, nonprofit, and civic communities of Colorado Springs unite to uplift those most affected by the shut-downs and restrictions. COSILoveYou is doing our part to coordinate an extraordinary surge of efforts to encourage donations, safe/essential volunteerism, and simple acts of kindness which demonstrate the power of God’s love for His people.
2-1-1 Colorado Springs
Churches from around the city have stepped up to meet emergency needs in collaboration with Pikes Peak United Way and the 2-1-1 emergency hotline. Eric Barnett, Director of the 2-1-1 hotline, explained how the emergency hotline works: “Anyone can call us to ask for help. We have a database of roughly 2,400 programs and agencies who can provide for different needs.” Emergency needs get documented on a live list of requests, and anyone that needs immediate help with groceries or supplies is sent to COSILoveYou. From there, churches from across the city ensure that those needs are met. “Our biggest requests are rent, food, and housing,” said Barnett. “It’s a hard time for people living paycheck to paycheck; it’s thrown their whole way of life. These services are impactful to everyone.”
Churches Step Up
We spoke with a few local churches who have supported a neighbor through the 2-1-1 hotline. Pastor Katherine Knapp of Pulse Church talked about the significance of having ways to serve: “We’re a smaller church, so we felt we could help with emergency groceries,” said Knapp. “For us, it’s been great to have ideas for things we can do. The COSILoveYou page has helped us to know what’s most needed and where.” Churches are getting creative in how they reach out to their communities. Many have been calling elderly members of their church to check in, and kids are making cards to drop off at elderly neighbors’ houses or nursing homes. “It’s causing everyone to be more intentional, which builds even more community,” said Knapp. “Everyone knows what the Church ‘does’ but now they’re seeing us express ourselves in tons of different ways. It’s awesome for believers to do, and for others to see.”
Sharyn Beal, Outreach Director at Manna Church, talked about how they’ve been able to partner with a local school. “We feel honored to work with Stratmoor Hills Elementary,” said Beal. Serving teams from Manna Church are bringing food to families at higher risk through the leadership of the school. This involves making deliveries from Care & Share food bank, helping the school with daily meal service, and delivering groceries door-to-door. They’ve also been making over-the-counter medicine kits and donations of household items.
Service to our community gives God many opportunities to show provision, as Beal shared in a story about a need they met through the 2-1-1 hotline. Manna Church received a request from a neighbor who had a small list of groceries. A volunteer went shopping for the items she thought would be a good fit, trusting the Lord to give her direction. “When we heard back from the neighbor, she was so thrilled because all the extra groceries fit into her limited diet,” said Beal. “She was so blown away that she was taken care of.”
We Are Stronger Together