Vineyard Churches Caring For Their Communities During COVID-19
We checked in with a few Vineyard churches who have been hard at work meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in their communities.
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[Photo: Vineyard Church Of The Rockies]
Vineyard churches across the U.S. have been actively meeting some significant needs in their communities in the wake of COVID-19 through food distributions, giveaways, game drop-offs, and more! We’ve asked a few of these churches to share how they have been serving their cities.
The Vineyard Church
Over the past 4+ weeks, our congregation has been writing hundreds of cards for isolated nursing home residents, making masks, providing meals for medical workers and a local homeless shelter, and doing our best to reach out to our own church family with phone calls, errand running, and grocery shopping. Our Easter offering was set aside to give 100% toward local COVID-19 relief through local organizations, as well as through our church leaders who could quickly distribute to their community (neighbors, co-workers, or friends in need). A big focus has been on getting groceries to two lower-income neighborhoods where we regularly serve and know don’t have great access to lunch programs in the community. We developed a “Care Crew” who takes care of shopping, packaging, and then distributing food door-to-door, bringing not only groceries but crafts and games for kids, and doing our best to point our neighbors to Jesus!
Delaware City Vineyard
For ten years, Delaware City Vineyard has served the practical needs of its community through a full-service, sit-down community meal and choice food pantry providing more than 300 tons of food and practical support over that time. Since Ohio’s shelter-in-place orders have been in effect, DCV has had to shift its processes, but not its mission. Since March 23rd, Delaware City Vineyard has served 250+ families with shelf-stable groceries, fresh produce, frozen meat, emergency toiletries and prayer through a weekly Drive-Thru food pantry. Additionally, in cooperation with city and county officials, United Way, Delaware County Emergency Management and with partners like Convoy of Hope, local churches and area service providers, Delaware City Vineyard has been able to leverage its facility and community relationships to become the Disaster Relief Distribution Center working to provide much needed emergency relief supplies, food and toiletries to area agencies and shelters.
Vineyard Church Of The Rockies
Fort Collins, CO
In response to the massive shortage on paper goods, hand sanitizer, and other household items, Vineyard of the Rockies (VOTR) planned and executed a “Love Fort Collins” giveaway on March 28th. Relying on the expertise of a CDC employee and church member, the church made over 500 bottles of hand sanitizer using the WHO guidelines. The church also purchased toilet paper, baby wipes, and diapers using their commercial accounts to serve the basic needs of northern Colorado families. Roughly 400 families were served, homeless shelters and other local non-profits received much needed supplies, and the name of Jesus was spread in a moment of chaos and confusion. By matching prayer with servant evangelism, the church met the basic and spiritual needs of hundreds of families in their area.
The Renaissance Vineyard Church has been operating a food pantry for more than 10 years, helping feed over 100 families each month. As the coronavirus has swept through metro Detroit, we’ve decided to keep our pantry open, serving our neighbors twice a month in a drive-by set that is “physically distant yet socially present.” We’re still loving our neighbors in need. We also committed 100% of our Easter weekend offerings to local and global benevolence, raising over $1,500 for local families and over $3,000 for international partners. In these small ways we’re trying to continue to share the love of Jesus with our neighbors and friends.
“Let’s feed the hungry in our city” was the text we began to circulate to our neighborhood group chat in the first week of the COVID-19 shut down. We knew our own neighbors were wondering what was coming and how they could help those in need around them. So, we set up a food pantry on our front porch with bins and boxes for drop-off for neighbors walking by. Within days, our front porch was overwhelmed with boxes of noodles, cans of soup, and packages of mac n’ cheese. Working with a low-income housing complex in our city, we have been able to deliver help and hope to the needy in our city. We drop bags full of groceries, a gift card, and a hand-written blessing or encouragement to a few families at a time to keep a crowd from developing. This happens a few times a week now. Our church family has jumped in to help provide groceries or do a drop-off. We continue to hear from more families in need and have people beyond our church responding to help. We love how God gathers those who might not go to our church to be a part of His heart in this season. Several families in need have texted back, thanking us and reporting that they know this is Jesus reaching out to them in their need. Jesus can be seen beyond our website and streamed service in this season!
When the shutdowns first began we reached out to our local partner agencies, asked how we could help, and were immediately put to work. Alongside them, we are now distributing food both directly and indirectly on a weekly basis. We are offering pre-cooked packaged meals through our drive-thru program, and preparing thousands of sandwiches for school lunches. We also are continuing our weekly food-box pick-up. At this point, about a month into our shutdowns here in Maine, we’re producing nearly triple the amount of meals we typically would – and the need is still growing.
Vineyard Church Des Moines
Des Moines, IA
When COVID began, the needs were so great. We asked God to show us what he was doing in our neighborhood and what our top two responsibilities were. We knew one was to identify and care for our own folks who needed help and support. Then, we looked at those with whom we already had a partnership – the refugee programs meeting in our church – and asked what their needs were. Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy & Resource Center (EMBARC), had over 300 families from eight communities who were needing food: Kunama, Congolese, Karen, Karenni, Chin, Rakhine, Burundi, and South Sudanese. We make bags that are then taken into their neighborhoods, in addition to a drive up distribution for anyone from our church or neighborhood needing food. We are just vessels; giving thanks as we give our little, and asking Him to multiply it.
Vineyard Church North Phoenix
Each May, we also host our annual Single Moms’ Spa Day Giveaway, providing a free day of pampering and relaxation for over 200 single moms. This year due to COVID-19 precautions, the event will be a drive-through goodie bag pick-up instead of usual Spa Day activities. The goodie bags contain gift cards, toiletries, Bath & Body Works products, and boxes of See’s Candies Chocolate!
The Vineyard Franklin
The Vineyard Franklin has had a free store called the Vineyard Downtown since 1993, where we have served over 1600 families in our town with food and clothes. Recently, along with the Franklin City Fire Department and another church, we had a community food drive. People set out nonperishable items in their driveways and we drove by to pick them up. During this crisis we have given people bags of groceries and lunches two days a week. Just showing God’s love in a practical way!
These stories were submitted to us by Vineyard churches. If your church has a COVID-19 outreach story they would like to share, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.