Children & Poverty Responds to COVID-19

by | Mar 30, 2020 | Billie's Blog, Conference Newsletter

A message from Carolyn Blaney Arndt, Chairperson

What could be better than sharing our Christian spirit with others during these days of soapy hands and disinfectant? We are United Methodist and we’ve got this! Below are a variety of activities that will brighten someone else’s day, and we hope your day as well. All of these suggestions are activities that can be repeated throughout this time of challenge.
1.  Adults and children can write cards to homeless seniors, singles, family members and young people who receive help from our urban ministry locations.  Your warm wishes and thoughts can touch those who feel especially isolated at this time, letting them know that there is someone thinking about them. Except for Justa Center, other locations have children and youth at their facilities who would appreciate a hello as well!  Golden Gate and Wesley Community Center have medical clinics who’s staff might appreciate a note of support. Our urban ministries are open and their staff would appreciate support as well. Please write on back of the card “Guest” or “Staff” and address them to:
UMOM   New Day Center   3333 E Van Buren Street   Phoenix, AZ  85003
Golden Gate Community Center   1625 N 39th Avenue   Phoenix, AZ   85009
Wesley Community Center   1300 S 10th Street   Phoenix, AZ  85034
 **According to World Health Organization (WHO), there is no evidence that mail can transmit COVID-19.  WHO reports that this virus does not survive long on letters or cards.**
2.  Write cards to seniors in nursing homes who can’t be visited in person.  Children can make them art to hang on their room walls.  Check with your local home and see if they will share cards if they are sent labelled “Resident”.
3.  Many people are very much struggling with worries about the future.  This might be a helpful read “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief”: about coping withe the very real stages of loss we are feeling in this pandemic.
4. Share your love by decorating a window for children and adults who are out for a walk or a drive.  “Chalk Your Walk”, (sidewalk chalk art) with your own art and words, your messages of encouragement, Faith and love drawn with chalk for walkers.  Decorate your window or sidewalk or yard wall using painters tape to mark off a “stained glass window” look and color in the spaces with chalk. Remove the tape and see your “window”.  Make posters and messages to hang in your windows for your community to see.
5. Have a Coffee Hour with a friend at your own homes!   Call or send an email to plan a time. Be ready with your own coffee or tea, and they with theirs, to call or video chat with a friend, or someone you don’t know well yet, all from a safe social distance and  each in your own home. FreeConferenceCall.com offers both audio and video conferencing – you can have up to 1,000 video participants or callers. (that’s a whole lot of coffee!) www.freeconferencecall.com
6.  Do you have extra fabric and sewing machine already at home?  Help make masks for our health care workers.  Click here for a great site for more information and a pattern.     
This pattern can be worn over top of N95 masks, that are especially in short supply, to make them last longer.  On Facebook there is a group called “Mask Phoenix!” that can provide more direction.
7.  Check in with your neighbors around you – with a card, talking from the other side of the street, or make a phone call.  Ask them how they are.  A pandemic makes adults, seniors, and children more at risk for abuse and neglect with less watchful eyes.   Learn more here.
8.  Attend church service online or with your cell phone.  If you are struggling downloading the app on your cell phone, or online, ask that church for help.  Someone can walk you through setting it up.  DSCUMC has a number of churches sharing their services online if yours is not.  Ask for help as they want you to attend too ?
9.  Are you a musician? Sing or play a hymn or song favorite from your sidewalk or home. You could even video record and post on social media such as Facebook. In other countries they are singing en mass from apartment balconies!
10. Favorite children’s book? Read, record and post – surely a smile for someone you love or a stranger. You could also record favorite Scripture verses and share.
11. Start a hashtag movement and post on social media – see if you can invite others to participate. Examples: #myfavoriteverse  #makemesmile  #tellajoke  #bestlinefromSundaysermon  #whocanIthanktoday   or one of your own
12.  Send your pastor a note of support – whether email or post – our clergy are working endlessly for all of us and they would greatly appreciate all of our gratitude and notes of prayer.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…

Psalm 46:1-2

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Author: Billie K. Fidlin

Billie K. Fidlin is the Director of Outreach & Justice for the Desert Southwest Conference. She is a graduate of Western Michigan University and attended Claremont School of Theology for religious studies. Ms. Fidlin currently serves as the President of the Arizona Faith Network in her second term. She is President & Founder of Whisper n Thunder Inc., and sits on various boards including the Justa Center and the Phoenix Police Department's Faith Advisory Council. Her awards include the UM Foundation for Evangelism 2004 Distinguished Evangelist; 2016 Church Women United / United Nations Human Rights Award; 2018 Servant Leader Award AZ Faith Network; 2022 Southern Poverty Law Center Certificate of Recognition; and 2022-23 Class of Who's Who in America.
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