Helping the Helpers
How to support on-the-ground efforts on Give Big Tuesday
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”- Fred Rogers
One of the scary things right now is that society seems unwilling to provide adequate economic support to those who need it in a crisis.
Fortunately, there are many helpers bridging the gap! With Give Big Tuesday coming up this week, we are highlighting two on-the-ground efforts in our neighborhood that you can support financially, as well as our own ministry.
The Hill District Consensus Group and Feed the Hood teamed up to provide hundreds of free meals weekly in the Hill and Wilkinsburg and this week expanded service to include South Oakland and West Oakland. They employ out-of-work cooks to prepare the food and utilize volunteers for delivery and distribution. Click here to fund their efforts.
The Corner is a community center serving West Oakland and Oak Hill that has been advocating for the neighborhood, distributing food and masks, and connecting neighbors to available resources. Click here to fund their efforts.
The Commonwealth of Oakland
We've been busy, too!
Our pastoral resident, Erin Angeli, is working on a team with leaders from South Oakland, West Oakland, and the Oakland Planning & Development Corporation to assess and meet the needs of Oakland residents. She has organized a team to sew and distribute masks, arranged for meal delivery, and coordinated with HDCG/Feed the Hood and our partner church, Third Presbyterian, to use their commercial kitchen for expanding their meal service!
We have mobilized our network of volunteers from The Commonwealth, the universities, the neighborhood, and our partner churches to sew masks and deliver dinners to folks who can't leave home safely. So far, we have distributed about 160 dinners and 200 masks to our neighbors, including those who are experiencing homelessness.
In this season of anxiety and alienation, our spiritual lives are as important as ever and we have adapted our worship and discussion gatherings to meet online. We have experimented with online office hours and prayer groups. And we've hosted timely discussions about theological questions raised by the pandemic. Our Sunday afternoon group is exploring the relationships between the pandemic, injustice, and the Bible - particularly how structural racism and environmental degradation have worsened the consequences of this outbreak, and what Christians can do about it.
Supporting The Commonwealth
Our church has only been meeting for two years, and I'm grateful that even though we are new to the neighborhood we are well-positioned to provide hands-on help in Oakland. I'm excited to see where this church will be two years from now! To get there, and to see that, will require funding.
If you think the ministry of The Commonwealth is valuable, please consider becoming a sustaining supporter of our community! If you're wondering how much to give, it might help to know that most of our current supporters contribute $10/month with a few in the $25-150 range. If you're already a supporter, a gift to one of the community partners above would bless our neighbors.