“God Bless You”
These are words heard often recently from people who St. Joan of Arc parishioners are helping during the coronavirus pandemic.
While on-site service projects such as Habitat for Humanity and a Spring cleanup at Wings have had to be cancelled. Several other service ministries, which range from St. Vincent DePaul, to the Interfaith Action Soup Kitchen, to Meals on Wheels have remained busy, while striving to adhere to social distancing requirements. This has meant finding new ways to continue these services.
SVDP volunteers, for instance, typically go to the homes of clients seeking short-term assistance to meet with them and assess their needs. Now, this is done over the telephone. Although volunteers miss the personal contact, this strategy has allowed them to serve the growing number of calls from people who have been laid off because of the virus.
“These are people who have been working and are suddenly without any income at all,” says Jim Ford, President of our local SVDP conference, which includes St. Lambert’s and St. Peter’s Parishes in addition to SJA. “Usually, we are helping people who are living on the edge, who work part-time or have some government assistance and struggle all the time to pay bills. The people who are suddenly out of work are seeking help because they have nothing coming in at all and have not received any kind of unemployment compensation yet, if they even qualify for it.”
Volunteers at the Interfaith Action Soup Kitchen in Evanston have also continued to provide monthly meals for about 65 people in Evanston. However, their operations also have had to be modified. Instead of a hot meal prepared once a month by SJA parishioners, volunteers for the soup kitchen now order discounted meals from Herm’s Palace on Dempster and deliver them to volunteers who distribute the meals outside the Congregational Church in Evanston.
“Herm’s has been a loyal contributor to St Joan of Arc school and parish for many years and we are happy to support this small restaurant,” says soup kitchen coordinator Julie Lynk.
A number of SJA volunteers also are continuing to distribute meals to elderly and homebound Evanston residents through Meals on Wheels of Northeastern Illinois. Instead of the usual daily deliveries of hot meals, Meals on Wheels now delivers a large box of frozen food once a week. Delivery volunteers wear masks and leave meals outside clients’ doors to limit their contact. Meg Cagney coordinates this ministry.
Unfortunately, upcoming Spring Habitat for Humanity and Wings Service Projects have been cancelled because of the coronavirus.
While Habitat’s May 16 crew has been cancelled, organizer Frank Ziegler is waiting to hear about the other scheduled dates on July 11, August 1 and August 29. More information about Habitat can be found here.
Women’s Club organizers of the annual Wings Clean project, note that this worthy organization, which serves families whose lives have been disrupted by domestic violence, is especially in need of our financial support during this difficult time of sheltering at home. Click here for more information.