Tag: disaster relief

How to help and stay calm during the COVID-19 pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the world, fear and anxiety are on the rise. With so much unknown, it can feel like everything is out of control and there’s nothing we can do. However, here are some things you can do that can help both alleviate your fears and bring some hope to the rest of the world. 

LOOK FOR THE HELPERS

Mr. Rogers once said, “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.’” The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Convoy of Hope has committed to provide at least 50 truckloads of emergency food and water — approximately 2 million pounds of relief supplies — to people most affected by the coronavirus. This work is being done through local partners helping offset school lunch needs caused by prolonged cancellations within their school districts. Do some research into organizations who are out there working to alleviate the effects of the pandemic.

VOLUNTEER

If you are sick, just not feeling well, or in the high-risk category for COVID-19, please stay home! However, if you are healthy and considered low-risk, there are likely many food banks and groups in your area that could greatly use your help providing supplies and assistance to those in your community. Contact your local chamber of commerce to learn if it is safe to help and how you can do so. 

SUPPORT LOCAL, SMALL BUSINESSES

This is a difficult time economically for everyone, but it’s especially difficult for small businesses. Do some research into local small shops that sell things like soap and cleaning supplies. Find local restaurants that may be offering delivery, drive-through, or curbside services. Stay social, even from a distance. Buy gift cards to stores you like — this gives them a boost now and you have a reason to treat yourself later when it’s once again safe to go out and shop. 

STAY INFORMED, NOT OVERWHELMED

There is A LOT of information and conversation out there about COVID-19. Unfortunately, not all of it is true or helpful. Make sure your information is coming from a trusted source. Convoy of Hope is providing a safe place for information at convoyofhope.org/coronavirus

Also make sure that you’re not overwhelming yourself with information. You could read updates on the pandemic for days if you wanted to, but that is not mentally or emotionally healthy. So stay informed, but make sure you are not spending all your time focusing on it. 

Remember to take a deep breath and hold tightly to hope in this time of heightened fears. You may have to stay home right now, but your kindness does not!

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Earth-Shaking Hope in Haiti

In early 2010, I was working for Convoy of Hope in Haiti. Things were normal. I was finishing up hosting guests from the U.S. and waiting for a Field Team to arrive two days later. But late that afternoon, as I stood on the balcony of a friend’s home, everything changed. 

My memories of the January 12 earthquake are ones that will always be with me. I’ll never forget the sound of moving earth and crashing buildings. Of mothers wailing in the street. Of the look on peoples’ faces as they tried to process what was happening. 

Although my assignment at Convoy of Hope was not for Disaster Services, I found myself at ground zero for one of the largest natural disasters to hit the Western Hemisphere. I pushed through my mental haze and began working with our partners in Haiti to assess the situation, determine food inventory, and identify a base of operations for in Port-au-Prince. 

Thankfully, within 48 hours of the shaking, I was welcomed by the sight of my Convoy of Hope colleagues crossing the tarmac of the airport. They brought a sense of calm that I hadn’t felt since the ordeal began. I was eager to step out of the way and place the reins of the response in their very capable hands. 

We all witnessed the sadness and desperation that took hold throughout the island in the days and weeks that followed. It got so bad that many families were forced to place the lifeless bodies of their loved in the street to be collected and placed in mass graves. 

But we also saw the amazing power of hope. A strength rose up in the Haitian people, who had already endured so much, and they picked themselves up and moved into their new “normal.” The overwhelming global response to the calamity showed them that they weren’t ignored or forgotten. They would make it.

When the earthquake struck, Convoy of Hope and our partners were already invested and committed to Haiti and were feeding more than 13,000 kids every school day. The overwhelming need after the earthquake propelled us forward and forced us to fast track our plans in the country. In 2019, we are feeding more than 90,000 children in Haiti. 

Tragedies don’t often give people the chance to do anything but survive. That’s why we hope to look beyond the immediacy of a disaster and toward a day when survivors can participate in the rebuilding of their communities. That’s what Haiti has been for us. We were honored to come alongside Haitians and serve when they needed us most. But we’re most proud of when they came back alongside us as participants … as partners on Haiti’s journey. 

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Children's Feeding / Disaster Services / Field Story