Pastors, priests and religious leaders across Alaska are joining forces to provide outreach, supplies and services to Alaskans most affected by the social and medical impact of the coronavirus.
Alaska Faith Leaders COVID-19 Task Force launched last week to serve as a central hub and liaison between faith groups and the Office of Governor Mike Dunleavy.
“It has become necessary for all pastors and churches to come together and support the government in their efforts to prevent and contain the coronavirus from escalating,” the group’s website states.
Christians should get acquainted with their neighbors, particularly the elderly who may need greater assistance.
The task force will work to mobilize volunteers and supply food and necessary supplies to those who are quarantined or at most at risk from the virus.
The group held its first online meeting March 14 and will continue weekly online conferences each Saturday from 4 to 5 p.m.
The initial meeting included pastors from around the state who discussed the need to identify and prepare churches and ministries that have resources like food pantries, showers and shelters, and to connect them with emergency preparedness teams in every city.
Religious leaders also noted that Christians should get acquainted with their neighbors, particularly the elderly who may need greater assistance.
Churches have vast resources and volunteers to help deliver meals, pick up medications, and provide basic services.
“We are trying to get as many faith leaders together as possible,” said Jennifer Schmid, who is helping coordinate the task force. “We are asking everyone to help spread the word.”
Schmid noted that churches have vast resources and volunteers to help deliver meals, pick up medications, and provide basic services.
On March 16, pastors participated in a conference call with Fred Villa from the Governor’s Special Project Department and Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s Chief Medical Officer. Zink provided updates on the spread of COVID-19 in Alaska and suggested ways faith leaders could protect and serve their congregations.
Zink noted that children and young adults may be carriers of COVID-19 despite having mild symptoms. She said the elderly and those who may be immunocompromised should be protected through social distancing.
To keep from isolating elderly Alaskans, however, Zink suggested offering to pick up medications and supplies for them.
RESOURCES FOR FAITH COMMUNITIES