By Tina Bryson
There are many needs faced by vulnerable populations during coronavirus, but none more pressing than the challenge to put food on the table with finances strained and supermarkets struggling to keep needed items on the shelves. That is why the distribution of commodity food boxes to seniors in Appalachia has been even more critical at this time. Last week, staff from Christian Appalachian Project’s Elderly Services Program joined with staff from Family Advocacy, Housing, and Camp AJ to distribute 192 boxes of food in Jackson County.
“We work with the most vulnerable participants, and if we stopped doing what we are called to do, they would go without or risk getting out to get what they need,” said Carolyn Lindsey, manager of CAP’s Elderly Services Program in Jackson, McCreary, and Rockcastle Counties. “As scary as it may be to go out, it is what God asks us to do to take care of each other while protecting ourselves in the process.”
CAP staff have implemented a variety of safety precautions to prevent the exposure of staff and participants to coronavirus while the state is under a stay home, stay healthy advisory. Employees and volunteers are working to find creative ways to continue to meet needs while social distancing and other measures are in place. Lindsey was moved by the commitment of CAP staff in other programs that came together to make sure participants were taken care of.
“It means the world to me,” Lindsey exclaimed. “They didn’t have to do this, but they chose to come together and make sure this event happened. They helped make sure that seniors were receiving food. It shows what a team we have at CAP and how we all work to overcome challenges in order to assist our participants.”
Many participants expressed gratitude to staff for not cancelling the distribution which means that they will have food in their cabinets for a little while longer. But Lindsey knows that it takes a variety of partnerships to address community needs in Jackson County.
“We could not have completed this distribution without the help of the community fire department who understood our need to direct traffic in a different way to prevent traffic backup and keep everyone safe. We are not here to serve alone and community partnerships are vital to the success of CAP and the services we provide,” Lindsey added.
“Scripture reminds us in Romans 15:1, ‘We who are strong in faith should help the weak with their weaknesses and not please only ourselves,’” she said. “Communities working together for the good of the people is what is going to make the Good Lord smile.”
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It Takes a Village
By Tina Bryson