When the coronavirus hit the Central District, nearly 100 members contracted it. Two of them passed away, and others were in serious condition. Many of our congregations were hit with unemployment: several at 30 percent, two at 50, one at 70, and another at 100.
All or most of our churches shut down. The immediate need in some areas was for basic groceries, rent assistance, and funeral expenses, so we began to raise funds. Thanks to Steve Krome and the Southeast District board for contributing financial assistance. Local churches in our district also established a Relief Assistance Fund, raising almost $25,000. They set up a system to distribute contributions through our district board members — directly to the needs in the local churches they represent.
The hardest hit areas were in Chicago, Illinois, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Thanks to those churches that quickly donated some of their local funds to meet this emergency need: Alfred, Fargo, St. Paul, Denver, Southeast District board, Devil’s Lake, Kearney, and numerous individuals. Hard-hit churches in Chicago met many needs of their sister churches in the area.
Special appreciation to Elder Miguel Gonzalez and Elder Ronald Rousseau, two of our pastors in Chicago and members of our district board who assisted Chicago local churches. They and numerous families purchased and delivered groceries to the families of our brothers and sisters hardest hit.
Spiritual gifts, hearts of compassion, and a lot of hard work define us in times of crisis. May God be with us all as we assist each other and adapt to the needs of God’s people during this critical and difficult time. Just to say thanks does not seem like enough, but this comes from sincere hearts of appreciation!