Back in the spring, many St. Michael’s parishioners and friends offered to donate money to help
those less fortunate, include some who lost most or all of their income and/or were not eligible for
federal funds. At the beginning, volunteers bought and delivered actual groceries to two to four
After the number of families needing help grew, we switched to grocery gift cards. Presently, the fund is helping up to 15 families each week. Some folks who have received help have also helped us by delivering masks, doing translations and delivering gift cards. Many more have offered to help in any way possible. For months, the gift cards were delivered in person to encourage personal contact. Lately, however, the cards have been mailed to ensure the safety of all concerned. The gift cards are purchased (reimbursed by the COVID Fund) and mailed in a handmade card by a St. Michael’s volunteer who wishes to remain anonymous.
Some reflections on the process over the past six months:
• When one of the Fund’s team made the initial contact, people were very touched that someone from St. Michael’s reached out to them. Even if they didn’t need the help or support, they really felt that St. Michael’s cared. The team emphasized that we are all part of the St. Michael’s familia regardless of the worship service we attend. Many folks became tearful first at just being contacted and then again when admitting to needing help.
• People were really blown away that it was just “regular” St. Michael’s people who had donated money to help other St. Michael’s people. Many were confused and assumed it was some kind of city/county assistance. We assured them that it wasn’t.
• It was hard for people to admit they needed help. For the most part, these are people who are usually the ones doing the giving. They are the ones bringing the food, supplying the piñatas, etc., so for them to ask for help was tough.
• At times, some have asked and/or worried that the help will run out. When we reach out each week, we often get the comment that, yes, they need help if we are able, and we keep telling them that we are able and want to help.
• Some have gone back to work. Not all have been able to return full-time, and many have not yet caught up from the expenses they incurred while not working at all.
• Not all of the families ask for help each week. Some families are doing better some weeks than other weeks, and they let us know when they don’t need help.
• In addition to gift cards for food, we have distributed over 75 adult and child cloth masks. These masks were made by a group of St. Michael’s folks as well.
• Rector Chris Craun has contributed to the Fund as well from her discretionary account. She has helped with groceries and also with rental assistance.