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Reach the Vulnerable From Lockdown

#stayhome has become the most used hashtag in everyone’s captions lately. Scroll through Instagram and all you will find are tons of pictures broadcasting people’s lockdown routines, achievements, challenges, advice, musings, and some complaints.

hand reaching out

By Lidia Garcia in Barcelona, Spain. Lidia is part of Agape Más, which shows God's love to marginalised people.

Photo by Benedikt Geyer on Unsplash

Admit it, we all have grumbled about how dreadful it is to be in confinement and how much we long to be outside again. But have you realized that #stayhome is not a duty but rather a privilege? You are not stuck at home--you are safe at home.

 

In our cities, there are thousands of people with no home, people who cannot do any kind of lockdown simply because they have nowhere to stay. They have no place to sleep, eat, or even wash their hands. In our neighborhoods, there are many women and children who are trapped with their abusers in tiny apartments.

 

Their confinement is not a break from their routine, but a nightmare. They are not safe. In our borders, there are camps where men, women and infants are crammed together in worn out, ragged tents covered in mud. Many were already sick or injured before COVID19 arrived. In such circumstances as theirs, how can one practice physical distance? How can they have access to proper hygiene? For the vulnerable, #stayhome is a privilege.

 

In front of these dramatic situations, how can we, as followers of Jesus, extend our privilege to reach those in the margins of society? How can we "not only look to our own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Philippians 2:4)? What can we do to alleviate their suffering? How can we love them well and bring them hope? 

 

It is really complicated to be by the side of those who are hurting while being restricted at home. But there are still many practical things we can do apart from praying:

1. Explore

What options are local churches, Agape or other organizations currently creating for the most marginalized? Am I aware of what needs are around me? How could I meet them?

 

2. Volunteer

If you are healthy, with no previous pathologies, and are living alone or with people who are not at risk, consider offering your time to a local church or organization that is serving the needy. From buying or delivering groceries to packing or handing out hygiene kits, there are many ways in which you can get involved while still keeping a proper physical distance. Make sure you wear a mask and gloves to protect the ones you serve!

 

3. Offer your gifts and skills

Only you know what you can do! But in case you need some ideas, here there are some tips: 

  • There are many people who have lost their jobs and are clueless as to what's next. They feel overwhelmed and have no idea where to start. You can gather legal information and act as a consultant for them, helping with any paperwork process they need to follow to apply for benefits or any other procedure. Usually, this costs a lot of money, but you can advocate for them free of charge.
  • Are you handy? Why not help fix a socket, a faucet or a washing machine for free? Costs are rising up with the lockdown, and many people are running out of household essentials simply because no one can come fix what has broken
  • You can also help vulnerable families by offering online free tutoring lessons to their kids or anyone who just needs help with their studies.
  • Sew! Many people are sewing masks right now. 

 

4. Be generous!

Do you have any friend, church member or neighbor who has lost his/her job and cannot pay their bills? What about coming together with others and paying for their utilities for the next month?

 

5. Raise your voice

Maybe you are suffering yourself the consequences of COVID19 and feel helpless as to how you could help others. But even if you feel there is nothing you can do, there is always something. Raise awareness. Use social media to open people's eyes to the needs around us and change misconceptions. Rather than spreading fear or fake news, let's use our media to "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." Proverbs 31:8‭-‬9 

 

6. Donate

There are many local churches and organizations that are already working hard in the midst of those who are in need. They are putting their lives at risk to love and serve the most vulnerable. All they need is resources to keep providing aid to the marginalized. Invest what God has given you -and even encourage others- in providing safer environments for those who cannot #stayhome

Do you need guidance for where to donate? If after exploring your neighborhood and city you are still uncertain about it, let us give you a couple of recommendations:

  • GAIN is Agape's humanitarian partner. Among other projects, they are currently planning on constructing and equipping quarantine areas to isolate refugees infected by the Corona virus in Camp Moria, Lesbos. You can find them in the UK, Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. Check their instagram accounts: @globalaidnetuk @gainhelpt @gain_austria @gaingermany @gainswitzerland @gainspain

  • Agape+ is a ministry of Agape in Spain. They walk alongside and provide options for the marginalized. They work among the homeless, refugees, and trafficked women in Spanish cities. Right now they are putting together hygiene kits for the homeless and providing meals and toiletries for sexually exploited women. Check their instagram @agapemas or webpage www.agapemas.com (in Spanish).

  • Red Cross - In most European cities, you can find an office that provides medical or social care to the most vulnerable. They are doing a great job responding to the needs of the marginalized and most affected by this current crisis. Check in your own city how you can get involved.

  • Open Doors is providing meals and emergency aid to persecuted Christian families in lockdown. To read more about this in English, check https://www.opendoorsuk.org/

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels

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