A Christ-Centered Response to Covid-19

“We need to redirect social energy from anxiety and panic to love and preparation. This crisis presents an extraordinary opportunity to fortify small communities of love and care for our neighbors. That will only happen if we lead in a way that reduces fear, increases faith, and reorients all of us from self-protection to serving others”

Andy Crouch, Praxis

Dear NCF Northwest Family,

We are living in a moment of serious uncertainty and stress.  What a great moment for the Body of Christ to reflect the love of our Savior and the confidence we have in Him!   I know many of you are already turning your hearts to those in need, and starting to ask the question “how can we, the Body of Christ, help those who need the most help right now?” 

We have created this website as a place to share needs and stories which are specific to the current crisis, and which are locally focused on ways we can all express our love.  Our good friend, Andy Crouch, recently wrote a compelling essay in the subject, Love in the Time of Coronavirus, in which he sets a practical and redemptive course for Christian leaders as they communicate and consider how to gather during this time. 

The past decade has been one of amazing acceleration in the growth of Donor Advised Funds like NCF.  DAFs are the fastest growing charitable vehicle in the US, and 6 of the 10 largest charities in the country are now DAFs.

This reminds me of the story of Joseph in Genesis 41.  He was instructed by the Lord through Pharaoh’s dreams to store up the bounty from seven years of plenty to be used to sustain the people for the seven years of famine.  We have certainly enjoyed more than seven years of plenty, and the Lord has allowed us to prepare storehouses ready to meet the needs of our time.  I pray we will all find ways to wisely steward the Lord’s storehouses in this time. I hope you find this helpful.

Here’s a sampling of ways we can use our Giving Funds to make a difference:

We know you are each aware of the challenges facing our churches.  Please pray for our leaders to receive wisdom and direction from above.

  • We are beginning to hear that church donations are down 20 to 40%.  Some of this is being driven by the lack of Sunday services, and some we assume by people losing jobs, or fearing for possible job loss.  Some of us have resources in our Giving Funds for such a time as this.  Please pray for wisdom and direction in this matter.
  • Some smaller churches do not have access to online giving.  If you know of a church who needs help with this, please let us know.  We would be happy to help them set up a Donate Button where we could collect online contributions for them.

Realizing that many organizations rely heavily on fundraising events to supply their needs, and those fundraising events are being canceled, consider increasing the giving you have historically done to support these organizations.

  • If one of your favorite organizations has had to cancel a fundraiser, you might consider sending them a grant for the amount you would have given at the fundraiser, plus an amount to help cover to cost of the table/meal you would have used if you were there.  At a typical fundraiser the cost of a seat is $50 to $100 and the cost of a table is $500 to $1000.  Many of these costs are not fully recoverable by the charity if they must cancel at the last minute.

Consider especially vulnerable populations and seek ways to help. 

Consider low income, working parents of kids who are home from school:

  • Many students and families affected by the School Closures are especially vulnerable at this time. Families are severely impacted due to job cuts, loss of access to free and reduced meals, and lack of childcare support.  Jubilee REACH is a nonprofit whose mission is to bring Jesus’ healing, build community, and transform lives. Partnering with the Bellevue Public Schools to directly engage families during this crisis, Jubilee REACH is providing basic needs, financial assistance, and relational services. Their latest update provides details and ways you can help.

Consider healthcare workers and our healthcare system:

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies in local hospitals are running dangerously low already. Medical Teams International has begun to supply local health care workers with more than 2,500 gowns, 28,100 masks, 20,600 exam gloves and 6,400 safety glasses to protect people from spreading the virus.  They are packing up PPE to send to their long-time partner Providence St. Joseph Health for immediate use in hospitals in the Pacific Northwest.
  • In addition, they continue to prepare their fleet of 12 Mobile Dental Vans to be repurposed and deployed across the region to support the COVID-19 response. In the coming days they will share more details on where and how our vans will be put to work to provide surge capacity to local hospitals.

Consider the hospitality industry (restaurant workers and hotel workers) who were already vulnerable and hard hit right now:

  • One organization which specifically serves this population is Big Table .  You can find an update from Kevin Finch, the pastor/food critic who founded this organization 11 years ago regarding the immediate needs of this population here.  Please consider helping organizations like this one who are experienced and positioned to serve those in special need at this time.

Consider your local food bank.

  • There is a substantial increase in the number of folks who need food, while at the same time a number of food banks have had to close.  Check in with your local foodbank to see if they are open and what needs they might have.  All these foodbanks are legal public charities and would enjoy your support.

If you own a business, consider ways you can support the community and support your employees

  • I was particularly excited to see the innovative ways our friends at the Canlis restaurant are leading the way by moving from fine dining to carry out and delivery services which both help the community and allow them to continue to employ their amazing team.   See the stories here, and here. Are there innovative ways you can help?

There are many, many more needs. 
Our goal is to start a conversation where we can share what we are learning about the best ways to help.  Please visit our Facebook page or send us an email with things you know about or hear about. We will sort through those and post them on this site.

For Christ’s Glory!
Your NCF Northwest team:
Kendra VanderMeulen, Bob Mumford, Matt Wimmer, Cindy Wimmer, Joe Eelkema, Bev Beppler.