STAYING CONNECTED DURING COVID
Staying connected is very important, especially during this pandemic when many families are forced to celebrate with each other from a distance. Hopefully our sacrifices will help reduce community spread of the virus as we approach the Christmas Holiday and beyond. We applaud those who have been strengthening connections by making “friendly calls” to parishioners, especially the vulnerable who have not returned to Mass or active ministry. If you have not yet tried this strategy in your parish, we encourage you to organize a small team of trustworthy volunteers who can reach out to the elderly and/or those living alone by phone. Ensure your volunteer callers understand the need to keep personal conversations private. However, details about sharing resource contacts for follow-up calls are OK. Here’s a sample script to help lead a conversation regarding FOOD AND SUPPLIES. You can modify the template for future calls with questions that pertain to other areas of need.
- Begin by introducing yourself and that you’re making calls to fellow parishioners on behalf of your parish priest to make sure he/she is healthy and safe.
- You may want to further identify yourself by mentioning which Mass you attend or which ministry you participated in BEFORE COVID-19 (i.e. choir, usher, lector).
- How are you doing?
- Have you been able to attend mass since the shutdown in March?
- “Father mentioned not seeing you for a time and asked us to reach out.”
- Have you been able to keep in touch with family and friends?
- At this point they may want to chat briefly about phone calls or socially distanced visits.
- If you get a sense that they’re doing well with sufficient contacts with close family and friends, you may soon end the call or jump ahead to ask:
- Is there anything you might need from our parish that could make things easier on you until it is safer to gather again at Church?
- While sheltering in, are you able to maintain sufficient supplies at home?
- Are you eating regular meals? Do you still cook? If you get a sense that they may be struggling with food supplies or meal preparation, you may mention the following:
- Home-delivery options; and some volunteer groups will assist with grocery shopping.
- Should consideration be given to a meal delivery program (i.e. Meals on Wheels)?
- OSM’s COVID-19 Resource page offers contact information to initiate Meals on Wheels, St Francis and other senior meal sources. See Meal Deliveries for homebound seniors on each island.
- The cost for meal delivery could vary and several programs have been reaching out, especially to seniors who reside in low-income housing. If your parishioner lives alone and unable to afford meals, perhaps the parish could consider a kupuna outreach effort where parishioners may “sponsor” or share the cost to finance a senior’s meals.
Connecting by phone can make a huge difference for people who need a friendly ear. It’s also a gentle reminder to let folks know their parish truly cares about them. Let’s stay safe and connected as One ‘Ohana!