“How do you need help?” Locating and Reaching Populations most Vulnerable to COVID-19

By Steve Matthews
Vulnerable Populations

This post is part of a blog series on 
“Keeping Congregations Connected in the Face of COVID-19”
Click here for the previous post

More and more people are talking about “Caution Fatigue” or “COVID Fatigue.”  If it has a name it must be real, right?  If you are like me, you don’t need a name to know that it takes a lot of energy and conscientiousness to be safe and cautious these days.  As we see people abandoning recommended safe practices for the sake of relationships, connection, and “normalcy,” we are reminded that many in our communities are tired and weary and often frustrated. But we have to be vigilant and continue thinking of our most vulnerable populations.

“Caution Fatigue” shows up in church too.  Many are anxious to get back into their church buildings. Some are tired of Zoom gatherings.  Pastors and priests are weary too.  And then there is the question of outreach.  How do we continue to fulfill this part of our mission when our traditional methods may have been abandoned for safety’s sake?  Perhaps we don’t feel like we have the energy for outreach with all of the other demands on us these days.  OR perhaps we are being invited into new ways of considering outreach to our neighbors and those most vulnerable to COVID-19.   

Is it possible that a fresh approach might actually give us some of our energy back?  Could outreach be a source of connection that rejuvenates us?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Consider asking the questions, “How are you?” and “How do you need help?”  If we know how to contact people in our outreach ministries, this personal question not only reminds them that we are still here for them, but it also gives us an opportunity to partner with them in developing solutions to their situations.
  • Download the MapDash for COVID-19 Resource.  This is available for free through June 30 and helps you identify vulnerable populations in your community, perhaps just around the corner.
  • Using this COVID-19 Resource, you can identify hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes, urgent care facilities, and schools in the midst of COVID-vulnerable neighborhoods.  Asking the questions, “How are you?” and “How do you need help?” to these organizations may open doors to new relationships … it may also build new energizing partnerships and collaborative opportunities. 
  • Consider local assets already in place.  Volunteer Match allows you to search for local agencies already providing resources for people impacted by COVID-19.

Who knows how this virus and the opportunities to accompany our neighbors is going to evolve.  We may not feel we have the energy to change the outcomes or make a huge difference, but like Mother Teresa, we can offer our drop of love and hope and courage and connection to our neighbors and to the ocean of God’s potential.

Want to help your congregation more effectively engage the neighborhoods it serves?

Click here to schedule a
no cost preliminary missional intelligence discussion
and receive a sample Neighborhood Missional Intelligence Report
for your location

Those who engage a full Neighborhood Missional Assessment or other consultative program from FaithX will receive a complete NMIR in interactive (dynamic HTML) format.

Important Note: A Neighborhood Missional Intelligence Report can also be a useful tool for identifying the prevalence of at risk groups within your membership and ministry areasand a Neighborhood Missional Assessment can help you identify the neighborhoods where they are most prevalent.

We have reduced the cost of NMIRs and NMAs by 10% for the duration of the COVID19 pandemic.

Want to help your judicatory identify emerging missional opportunities and challenges within its boundaries?

Click here to schedule a demo/discussion
of MapDash for Faith Communities
for Strategic Missional Planning

Important Note: In the days ahead Datastory will be adding COVID-related data to MapDash to all current and future subscribers (including incidence of COVID-19, hospital locations and capacity, Twitter feeds, location of doctors).

FaithX is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and Ken’s faith-based consulting practice at FaithX is carried out under an extension of ministry from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.