Dear beloved members of St. David’s,
In recent weeks, one specific question have been asked with increasing frequency: “So, what can I DO during this time?”
It seems people are itching to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world, and it makes our heart happy to see this desire for service. While a lot of our standard outreach activities are temporarily unavailable, there are still many ways that a person can safety engage in practical, tangible support during this time. Below is a non-exhaustive list that we offer for your prayerful consideration. Some require in-person attendance, some do not. All of them have our St. David’s approval as activities that are safety-minded and worthwhile of your volunteer efforts.
Whether you engage in one of these activities and/or find another channel to devote time to, here are two words of wisdom:
1) In this pandemic, let your conscience be your guide about the extent that you personally get involved in something. Everybody has different situations and limitations, so nobody needs to feel like they “should” or “must” do as much as somebody else is doing. Along those lines, please feel empowered to wear a mask and practice social distancing, thereby modeling best practices to your fellow volunteers.
2) Whatever you do, make sure it is actually impactful. It can be easy to fall into a trap of doing something simply to fill a personal desire to “do” something. As hard as it might be, the wiser course of action is to put our own personal desires on the side and asses what is actually needed on a local, national, and global scale. One of the reasons we support the below endeavors is that they emerged from grassroot identification by their respective local non-profit organizations of what actual needs are currently present.
Volunteer at the Healthy Food Pantry (HFP) of Foundation Communities. Volunteers load/unload vans and subsequently prep pantry bags for contactless pickup by clients. Volunteers typically commit to serving at least 2 shifts per month (~7 hours each month total) on an ongoing basis. You can fill out an application here and click “Healthy Food Pantry” as your interest area. You can also email Jackie Cuellar with any questions.
Hand-written notes. This doesn’t require leaving your favorite chair and writing table at home. Foundation Communities is seeking notes, short poems, drawn pictures, or any other affirmations that you can stuff in a manila envelope and mail to them. These items will be included in their individual food pantry deliveries to the 727 residents at their studio apartment communities. Click this link to learn more.
Cafe Divine Outreach. Our new ministry of Saturday curbside meal distribution is slowly but surely taking off. We seek 4-6 volunteers every Saturday, and we hope to acquire enough volunteers such that no one person has to assist more than once every 4-5 weeks. We also anticipate a financial need in the near future, so we’d love to discuss your interest in providing monetary support. So far, this has been a low-effort initiative with high-impact results. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Volunteer at Next-to-New. Consignment is temporarily closed, but our beloved shop is still up-and-running! Volunteers are needed Monday through Saturday, 10am-4pm. Contact email@example.com to learn more.
Classroom Furniture Assembly. July 22 and 23, 10 a.m.-Noon or 1 p.m.-3p.m. Todos Juntos is in the final stages of moving into their new building, and they need some handy helpers to put together a few furniture items. Advance sign-up is required, so please contact Raney McKool to learn more.
Food Pantry Delivery, July 20, 9 a.m.-10 a.m. Pick up food pantry boxes from El Buen Samaritano and deliver to the Todos Juntos facilities at Ben White & S 1st street. Contact Raney McKool to learn more.
Purchase & deliver sanitation items to Project Transitions. This local organization is the only direct provider of housing for people living with HIV/AIDS in Central Texas. Like many places, they are having to adapt in this pandemic – and this is compounded further by a need to tear down and rebuild one of their complexes. To that end, they would love to receive donations of gloves, face masks, hand sanitizer, & disinfectants. Contact me, at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested and I’ll connect you to the best person.
Volunteer with “Stay Home, Stay Healthy.” Fellow Episcopal parish St. James’ has been busy helping to provide 10,000 pounds of food and diapers each week to elderly and immunocompromised neighbors in east Austin. Volunteer opportunities include truck unloading, packing food bags, and delivery of items. These volunteer needs span from Monday midday through Friday afternoon. Click here to sign up and/or get more information.
We hope this information feeds your desires for Christian charity in the world today. It is a gift to serve as one of your priests.