“When the viruses come, as they do from time to time, we rediscover the relevance of old ideas, such as public health and communities of compassion. The coming months will bring seasons of alarm and inappropriate comfort, as we think we’ve got it under control and then alarm again. We will live because of our accurate words, clear-sighted recognition of patterns of vulnerability and resistance. And, we live, mostly because of our humane bonds of care and decency. Those are our greatest strengths: The Spirit that gives and protects our common life and lets us find our way together.”
– Gary Gunderson, Vice President for FaithHealthNC at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, reflects on COVID-19 in this blog post
During these crazy and unprecedented times, we know that faith communities are working hard to provide support to their communities. Below are some resources that we hope will help address the pandemic and help guide efforts in the community during and after this crisis.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND RECOVERY
- The Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, in partnership with Cook County Public Health and Prepare Chicago have published the Public Health Planning Guide for Faith Communities to help leadership teams set goals for preparedness and establishing a public health plan. This guide can be used by communities of all faith traditions and is designed to support organizations as they consider public health related ministry and how to care for their congregations and neighbors during a crisis.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed a guide to help faith communities address COVID-19 and make a plan for sustained support and reaction. Available here >>
- The Institute for Emerging Issues is focusing on Connecting in Crisis on their First in Future podcast, connecting with business and community leaders, researchers, elected officials and people working on the ground to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and response and recovery. On the April 21st episode, NC Representative Rev. James Galliard offered a message of faith and hope and the episode included conversation around how faith communities are coping and creating community when they are not able to be together. Available here >>
- The NC Inclusive Disaster Recovery Network has created a living document to collect up-to-date resources and engagement opportunities for organizations supporting underserved communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Available here >>
- Dr. Sarah Kirby and Dr. Ben Chapman joined us on Day 2 of our Virtual Summit for a conversation about how faith communities can address the COVID-19 crisis, providing resources for disaster recovery and food safety, including best practices and resources based on evidence and research. Available here >>
PREVENTION AND HEALTHCARE RESOURCES
- The Partnership Center – Center for Health and Faith Initiatives has put together guidance, COVID-19: Recommended Preventative Practices and FAQ’s for Faith-based and Community Leaders. Faith-based and community leaders are valuable sources of support for members of their communities during times of crisis and/or distress and have unique abilities to address concerns regarding COVID-19 and broadly promote reliable and helpful information about public health and safety. These leaders are also poised to encourage acts of service and community relationships that can help to reach vulnerable populations with information and assistance.
- NC CARE 360 is the first statewide (North Carolina) coordinated care network to electronically connect those with identified needs to community resources and allow for a feedback loop on the outcome of that connection. This system will allow better coordination and investment in the non-medical drivers of health, like access to healthy food, safe and affordable housing and well-paying jobs by creating a system that will allow providers to connect with and refer out to services that can support the drivers of health for patients, creating a community-oriented person-centered approach to delivering care. Available here >>
- The US Office of Minority Health National Partnership for Action (NPA) was established to mobilize a nationwide, comprehensive, community-driven, and sustained approach to combating health disparities and to move the nation toward achieving health equity. Learn more here >>
- US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a Disaster Technical Assistance Center, which helps states, U.S. territories, tribes and local providers plan for and respond to behavioral health needs after a disaster. You can find toolkits and other training resources as well as links to behavioral health resources for supporting first responders, older adults, children and youth, as well as other community members during and after a disaster or traumatic event. Available here >>
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has compiled resources and recommendations for adults, children and even responders for managing the elevated stress and anxiety that may be arising from the pandemic. Available here >>
- National Alliance on Mental Illness has compiled a guide, with links to many additional resources, for support with many mental health challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Available here>>
- The NAMI Help Line can also be reached at (800) 950-6264, from 10am-6pm EST.
- Harvard Health offers helpful tips to help manage stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak. Available here >>
RESOURCES FOR PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS
- Prevent Child Abuse America has compiled a page of resources for parents, children, the community, schools and businesses to stay connected, to stay safe, to stay active and engaged as a family, and to manage stress and anxiety. Available here >>
- Sesame Street in Communities offers resources to empower parents/caregivers and providers to mitigate the effects of traumatic experiences for children. You can find support for teaching coping strategies and resilience-building techniques. Available here >>
- PBS offers resources, apps, and guides to help parents/caregivers manage stress during these difficult times, and to help keep learning going while children are out of school. You can sign up for a weekday newsletter with activities and tips to help kids play and learn at home. Available here >>
- For tips on Combating Stress and Anxiety in Family Life during COVID-19, check out this blog post by Dr. Kim Allen. She has also compiled a list of resources for families. For additional thoughts, strategies and encouragement, view Dr. Allen’s presentation on strategies for managing family life stress and anxiety during this time.
- Institute for Emerging Issues has compiled an extensive list of resources for parents and caregivers who are caring for children from birth to teens at home during this time. Resources cover the educational, entertainment and social-emotional needs of kids as they learn and play at home. (Some of these might be duplicative of some of the resources we have but some are new ones and it is a robust list). Available here >>
BUILDING COMMUNITY DURING A TIME OF SOCIAL DISTANCING
- Community is a vital resource during times of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing us all, including faith communities, to think creatively about how to maintain and build community during this time of social distancing. Sojourners has compiled Community Without Communing: Resources for Virtual Church. Read more about how faith-based organization and communities are rising to the challenge of supporting members and neighbors and fostering community through digital strategies.
- The impacts of COVID-19 are likely to be with us for some time to come. As you consider strategies for long-term engagement with faith communities, it may be helpful to think about the ways that different religious communities are adapting. Two religious studies professors break it down on a special podcast episode of Keeping it 101.
- The NC Council of Churches provided resources to help congregations provide a “faithful” response to COVID-19. Available here >>
- Institute for Emerging Issues – Rural Faith Communities Initiative is hosting bi-weekly open calls for clergy, laity and faith community partners. Every Tuesday at 10am, they host an open space call to check in with how everyone is feeling and to offer peer support – what boundaries, health (physical and mental), and life looks like for everyone. On Thursdays at 10am, the open call focuses on troubleshooting and sharing what is working in faith communities. Available here >>
- NC State Extension’s Food Safety portal has resources to provide best practices for preparing for COVID-19 and managing risk for individuals at home and for food environments such as restaurants, grocery stores and farms. These resources are based on guidance and best practices as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Available here >>
- USDA and Choose MyPlate have created a guide with information on food planning during the COVID-19 pandemic, including what to buy, how much to buy and preparation tips. Available here >>
- Feeding America has valuable resources to help you learn more about what hunger and food insecurity look like across the US and ways your community can respond during a crisis. Available here >>
- Parents who need food assistance for their children can text FOODNC to 877-877 to locate nearby free meal sites. You can also use No Kid Hungry NC’s interactive map of free food sites in North Carolina. Updated daily. En español COMIDA to 877-877.
- Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina offers support for applying for food stamps (also known as Food & Nutrition Services or SNAP). For assistance, visit their Three Squares Benefits Assistance page. Available here >>
- APHA and the National Academy of Medicine is hosting a series of webinars exploring the state of the science surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US and globally, with a focus on how to best mitigate its impact. These webinars include several opportunities for engaging in conversation and thinking about health equity in the response to this pandemic. Recorded webinars can be found here >>
- The Partnership Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives is hosting a webinar series, Mental Health in a Time of COVID-19, focused on resources and strategies for faith and community leaders to address the mental health challenges brought on by COVID-19 and the challenges that lie ahead during the recovery process. Recorded webinars can be found here >>
Stay healthy and happy!
Faithful Families Team