Serve Opportunities

How can I SERVE?

The coronavirus has already disrupted our routine.  Let’s find ways to step into the disruption for the vulnerable and serve them with kindness and share the wonderful hope and peace that we have in Jesus.  In moments of distress – in moments of crisis – in moments of panic: the church has the opportunity to bring calm, care and comfort..  Let’s find ways to do just that. #ServeSC

  1. Check on your neighbors or the vulnerable in your community.
  2. Perhaps you could run errands for the elderly or offer to go to the grocery store for families with young children.
  3. Call and encourage those who are in self-quarantine.
  4. Donate food and other needed items to your local food pantry
  5. Check in with your local schools and ask how you might serve them as they serve their students.
  6. If you are a part of a Disaster Relief Unit, you may have a host of options to deploy to serve in your community through food, shower units, etc.

With the announcement of school closures, there are other specific ways to serve.  Some of the following options came directly from the South Carolina Department of Education.

  1. Families with working parents will potentially face a crisis of choice between caring for children at home and going to work.  If you are home and have the ability, perhaps you could offer to care for a neighbor’s children while they are at work.  Churches could also organize small group activities for children in your community.  Think along the lines of a VBS for the next two weeks on a small scale – less than 50 children.
  2. Schools will be providing food for students at various sites during the 2-week closure (similar to the summer feeding program).
    - Check with your school district or local school to see if there is an opportunity to help distribute food to students.  Many programs will involve breakfast and lunch.
  3. While there will be some essential staff remaining at each school, this closure may give a wonderful opportunity to offer to clean and disinfect the school building and classroom.  Taking lunch to the onsite staff wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
  4. Do you have age appropriate books that could be donated to the feeding locations for students?
  5. Churches, in coordination with local schools, could provide food for students who are food insecure for consumption during the weekend.

 
The bottom line is that you and I have opportunities to love our communities well.  Let’s not get lulled into a cocoon like state and merely pass the time away waiting for things to return to normal.  Let’s move into the uncertainty and share the hope of Jesus in word and deed.

Many churches across the state are already connected to their local schools through the Heart4Schools initiative http://www.heart4schools.com,  where they provide Teacher Support, serve as Reading Buddies and/or provide weekend food through Back Pack Buddy program.  I would encourage these churches to continue to serve schools in a variety of ways during these closures.  My prayer is that this disruption to the normal routine will only serve to deepen your relationships and strengthen your ministry presence. 

It’s an honor to serve alongside so many wonderful ministers and churches who are already actively serving their communities well.  Keep up the good work!

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:16

-Jon Jamison, SERVE Team Leader

School Volunteer Opportunities
The United Way of South Carolina and the South Carolina Department of Education are working together to identify potential volunteers to help school food authorities prepare and distribute meals to children across the state. 
 
If you are over the age of 21, would like to volunteer in a school district, and have NOT experienced any symptoms of illness in the past 14 days, please follow the step by step instructions below to register. 
 
1. Go to www.VolunteerSC.org, scroll down, and click view details under the ongoing need entitled "Statewide - School Meal Preparation and Distribution." 
 
2. Scroll down again and click the blue "Respond" tab in the bottom right corner. 
 
3. Potential volunteers will then need to provide information to create an account if you are not already registered. The system will ask for basic contact information, counties you are willing to volunteer in, and if you have experienced any symptoms of illness in the past 14 days. After entering the required information, please make sure that you complete the registration process by clicking the blue "Submit Need Response" tab in the bottom left of the page. Please note: It is crucial that you provide accurate information during the registration process. 
 
4. After registering, a confirmation email will be sent and if needed, a representative will contact you in the near future regarding scheduling.