Parishioners at one parish plan to post on social media offers to shop for or prepare meals for people unable to leave their homes because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Parishioners in another parish are looking into providing transportation to medical appointments or doing chores for people who need that assistance. At Humility Homes and Services in Davenport, some participants pick up meals “to go” from Café on Vine for fellow participants who cannot pick them up themselves. What a contrast to the stories we hear about panic-fueled selfishness that causes people to hoard toilet paper, hand sanitizer and canned food. More than ever, we need to spread compassion, not the coronavirus.
Locally and around the world, our leaders call us to think beyond ourselves for the wellbeing of all of humanity. We have talked for years about living in a global village where everyone is connected. That reality catches our attention when one of the threads is a contagion tying us in knots. Now is the time to think about the wellbeing of others, first. That’s what followers of Jesus do.
Our leaders have taken tough measures to keep the coronavirus from spreading so rapidly that it overwhelms our health systems as happened, tragically, in Italy. Pope Francis said during a Mass in his chapel March 12 that in the midst of inconvenience we forget about the starving children and the poor people at nations’ borders. The Holy Father asks us “to pray for the grace of not becoming indifferent” and that “all the information of human pain that we have reaches the heart and moves us to do something for others” (Catholic News Service).
These are some suggestions to do something for others:
• Pray any form of prayer that inspires you to think about the wellbeing of others. Read the daily Scripture reading (available on Page 4 in The Catholic Messenger).
• Encourage landlords to stop evictions of tenants unable to pay their rent because the coronavirus has left them without work or with less income to pay bills.
• Drop off nonperishable items at food pantries in your community or other food-donation sites, such as the North Scott Blessing Box in Eldridge, located in front of Backwards Yoga.
• Donate money to a nonprofit organization that serves people struggling to obtain or maintain affordable housing, such as Humility Homes and Services in Davenport. Make online donations at https:/www.humilityhomes.org/donate or send a check to HHSI at 3805 Mississippi Ave., Davenport, Iowa, 52807.
• If you are healthy, volunteer at a meal site or food pantry such as the St. Vincent de Paul Food pantry in the basement of St. John Catholic Church in Burlington. Call Larry Christ at (319) 671-8614.
• Donate to the Quad Cities Disaster Recovery Fund of the Quad Cities Community Foundation. Go to www.qccommunityfoundation.org. Click on the GIVE button and choose the Quad Cities Disaster Recovery Fund. The foundation plans to distribute grants that address the economic impact of reduced and lost work already resulting from the coronavirus outbreak, the immediate needs of vulnerable populations, and increased demand for medical information and support.
• Consult with members of your parish already doing ministry to the homebound. Does someone need a ride to an appointment or groceries picked up or someone to talk with?
• Send cards to people in nursing homes. Many nursing homes have limited access to the public to protect the residents. The elderly are most at risk of serious illness from the coronavirus. These residents need to know that people have not forgotten them.
• Gather information about the coronavirus from the Diocese of Davenport’s website (www.davenportdiocese.org) to share with others who need accurate information and spiritual resources to reassure them in this time of uncertainty. Watch for updates from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on The Catholic Messenger website (www.catholicmessenger.net) and in the paper.
• Contact Senators Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst and your U.S. Representative to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our country receive support to remain in their homes, jobs and programs and have access to food and healthcare.
• Pray for healthcare workers, clergy, women religious, lay people and others ministering to individuals infected with coronavirus and their families.
Spread compassion, not the coronavirus for the sake of all of us.
Barb Arland-Fye, Editor