Charitable groups have stepped in to serve the hungry, poor, and dying for centuries, and today is no different.
As of Thursday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in America is 427,460, with 14,696 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The unemployment rate likely is around 9.7%—approaching three times the record-low 3.5% in February,” says Rachel Greszler, a research fellow in economics, budget, and entitlements at The Heritage Foundation.
Amid the hardship and challenges, nonprofit organizations are pouring out physical, financial, and emotional resources to aid in the fight against COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The Christian groups Operation Blessing, Samaritan’s Purse, and World Vision are just three of the nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs, offering food, medical supplies, and other resources to those who need it most.
1. Operation Blessing
Operation Blessing, founded in 1978 by evangelist Pat Robertson, today is headed by his son Gordon Robertson. Based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the humanitarian organization states that its mission is to demonstrate God’s love “by alleviating human need and suffering in the United States and around the world.”
Operation Blessing has aided communities struck by tragedy for decades, and right now its efforts are fixed on helping people such as Deborah Presson, a mother and public school teacher in Portsmouth, Virginia.
In an email to The Daily Signal, Gordon Robertson said:
Deborah has been a teacher off and on since 1981 and currently teaches first grade in the Portsmouth Public Schools. In January of this year, she had to take a month off to recover from an extensive surgery that was necessary because of a car accident she was in.
After the surgery, she got behind on paying bills. … Now that schools are closed because of the coronavirus, things are even more challenging. Deborah has been attending food distributions hosted by [an] Operation Blessing partner, Rescue Church.
Presson and her son, Tommy, are both diabetic and “it’s a blessing to have food that is decent,” she told Operation Blessing.
“It’s a blessing to know that there’s somebody who wants to help!” she added. I appreciate it so much.”
In addition to providing food, Operation Blessing has distributed large amounts of medical equipment and cleaning supplies to those who need it most.
In the last week of March alone, the nonprofit “distributed more than 31,000 N95 face masks to police departments, fire departments, emergency managers, and hospital systems in four states,” Robertson told The Daily Signal.
And in partnership with the Home Depot Foundation, the organization delivered 1,400 cleaning supplies kits to many of the same front-line institutions.
“By our assisting [first responders], they can be more effective in serving the population,” Robertson said.
2. Samaritan’s Purse
Best known for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry that distributes shoe boxes filled with toys and necessities for needy children each December, Samaritan’s Purse operates more than a dozen different ministry projects around the world.
Since 1970, the mission of Samaritan’s Purse has been to help “meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ,” according to the organization’s website.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Samaritan’s Purse is focused on providing care to those affected by COVID-19 in America and Italy.
The nonprofit has “set up two identical emergency field hospitals, specially designed as respiratory care units, in New York City and Cremona, Italy,” Kaitlyn Lahm, assistant director of media relations and marketing, said in an email to The Daily Signal. “These field hospitals are bringing critical added capacity to overwhelmed hospital systems.”
By April 3, the humanitarian organization’s operation in Italy was “able to celebrate with more than 65 patients as they leave our field hospital and return home,” Lahm said, adding:
This is an outbreak that is being felt on a global scale—replacing normalcy with anxiety and fear. In the midst of that, Samaritan’s Purse is working alongside other organizations and communities to provide a sense of hope as they serve the people of New York and Italy in the name of Jesus.
3. World Vision
World Vision is one of the largest child sponsorship organizations in the world, helping over 3.5 million children across almost 100 countries, according to its website.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the Washington state-based NGO is meeting needs through initiatives “both here in the U.S. and around the world,” World Vision President Edgar Sandoval Sr. told The Daily Signal via email.
Sandoval explained that World Vision has a strategic approach to helping during the pandemic, saying it has “declared a Global Health Emergency Response with a goal of reaching 22.5 million people globally over the next six months.”
The nonprofit is focusing humanitarian efforts on helping 17 countries. Within those nations, it works with communities and households not only to provide needed supplies but also to offer education on how the coronavirus can be slowed, or even stopped, through preventative methods such as hand washing and social distancing.
Sandoval said World Vision is taking great care to provide for as many people as they can during the coronavirus, whether that be health care workers or vulnerable children:
We are supporting health systems and workers by providing them with personal protective equipment and treatment supplies like thermometers; helping to run isolation centers or transportation of the sick and testing supplies; and training and equipping 220,000 community health workers to help with home care for the sick. We are also supporting children made vulnerable by COVID-19 with cash and voucher programs, food distributions, and care packets; helping with home learning; and providing psychological first aid.
World Vision’s response to COVID-19 already has touched thousands in need in America and around the world.
“With every small act of courage, love, and belief we do more than just stop the spread of fear … we replace it with hope,” Sandoval said.
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