Christian Chronicle

COVID-19 challenges Christian relief ministries’ response to spring tornadoes

Members of Churches of Christ adapt practices to serve storm victims during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

After an EF3 tornado slammed into Jonesboro, Ark., on March 28, the Nettleton Church of Christ could have used the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse not to help.

Instead, the 100-member congregation immediately mobilized while taking precautions designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“Because the recent disaster happened in the midst of the nation’s ‘present distress,’ it has given us an opportunity to reach out to more people,” said Brock Kendall, who preaches for the Arkansas church.

Three hundred miles south of Jonesboro, the Jackson Street Church of Christ in Monroe, La., also didn’t hesitate to rally volunteers after twisters swept through the South on April 12.

“COVID-19 has added a measure of difficulty to the process, but we’re doing our best to embody God’s kingdom in our community,” said Travis Bookout, preaching minister for the 300-member Louisiana congregation.

One Jackson Street family heard from Jason Stewart, a member of the Parkview Church of Christ in Monroe, that tornado victims were going hungry.

So Steven and Jana Fitzhugh and their four children, ages 12 to 22, went to Sam’s Club and bought enough sandwich meat, bread and fruit to fill 140 lunch sacks.

The experience helped smack the family out of its funk over having to isolate at home.

“Here were people who had lost everything in a tornado and didn’t even have food for the day,” Jana Fitzhugh said. “It knocked us back into our reality.”

Read the full story.

This story appears in the online edition of The Christian Chronicle.

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