03/31/2020 As we deal with these unprecedented times many of you are wondering what you can do to help those less fortunate. Northminster’s Mission and Social Justice Committee is channeling designated mission reserve funds approved by the Session into emergency needs connected with feeding and caring for Evanston’s homeless population, who are now being temporarily housed in area hotels by the City of Evanston.
This terrible virus hits everyone and those most vulnerable the hardest. Many of our partners are asking for help in various ways beyond financial support. We hope that you find this summary helpful.
Connections for the Homeless
They are looking for volunteers to be on the frontline of our city’s efforts to house and care for our homeless population during this crisis. They have many different volunteer opportunities available at the housing locations, primarily for those who have experience dealing with the Evanston homeless population. In addition, they can use help preparing meals, doing laundry and with some errands. They are also looking for certain shelf stable items and toiletries. More details on the assistance needed can be found directly on their website: https://www.connect2home.org/coronavirussupport.html
Sales have plummeted and they are struggling to find ways to pay staff, many of whom are students. Curt’s is also providing discount meals to Connections for the Homeless for our temporarily hotel-housed homeless population. Curt’s is still open for pick up orders or delivery of meals to the public. This could be a great opportunity to provide meals for a loved one or a friend that cannot make it out of their home or simply for yourself and family! For more information see: https://curtscafe.org/
Interfaith Action is seeking volunteers to serve as door greeters during the morning at their Hospitality Center. This could be a great opportunity for those students that are home and looking to help a great cause. Shifts are 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. or 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. every morning. With most of our homeless population temporarily housed, the number of guests at the Hospitality Center is usually under 10 these days, so maintaining safe distances is relatively easy. For information, see http://www.interfaithactionofevanston.org/. In addition, tentative plans for an upcoming Produce Mobile Day are impacted by a new requirement that no volunteers for distribution can be over 60 years of age. Contact Interfaith Action if you could volunteer with distribution for an upcoming daytime distribution of fresh produce to our neighbors, which will be held at the new Crown Center.
The Clergy and Religious Leaders sub-group of the Mayor’s COVID-19 Task Force is encouraging those who have the interest and ability to sew masks. The proper instructions for how to prepare the masks is found here: https://www.vumc.org/coronavirus/how-donate-hand-sewn-face-masks and here: https://www.deaconess.com/How-to-make-a-Face-Mask.
Evanston efforts at gathering masks from churches is being coordinated by Pastor Grace from First Methodist. Contact Pastor Michael for information on connecting with her efforts.
Alternatively, Northminster member Leslie Grayson is making masks for Dr. Daniel Ivankovich, an orthopedic surgeon who cares for underserved patients across ten safety-net hospitals throughout Cook County. He co-founded the One Patient Global Health Initiative to provide care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. Dr. Ivankovich is seeking hand sewn surgical masks to help replenish the vanishing supply of PPE in his hospitals. He and Leslie have developed a slightly different design that makes the masks capable of being used in surgeries. Each of his ten hospitals needs at least 100 masks, so it will take many sewing to fill that need. To participate with her team, please contact Leslie at email@example.com.
Additional opportunities to volunteer can be found at the City of Evanston Covid-19 Response volunteer web portal: https://volunteerevanston.galaxydigital.com/covid19-response-/volunteer-opportunities/.
As we learn of more opportunities for Northminster to live our faith’s calling to serve and to “seek the welfare of the city” into which God has placed us, we will let you know.
The Mission and Social Justice Committee