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Organization working with churches to help some get to student meals

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused numerous changes in society.

In many cases, governments, schools, and agencies are working to mitigate the impacts of those changes.

But, there are issues that government entities are not well-suited to address.

With schools closed, Warren County School District and Tidioute Community Charter School are offering meals to students who show up at any of the numerous distribution points throughout the county. That’s good news for families that rely on meals at school for their children.

But, some families may not be aware. Others will struggle to get there.

For issues like those, and many others, Love INC is working to coordinate efforts by the Warren County church community in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and steps that have been taken to slow its spread.

“With the nation’s shutdown in response to COVID-19, ‘What can we do?’ is a question we’ve been getting here at Love INC for the last few days,” Executive Director Heidi Kafferlin said. “There are a few areas for which Love INC has been asked to coordinate church efforts to fill some of the gaps in the community during this time.”

Love INC has sent some suggestions to the church community about steps they could take to help.

“The churches are being asked to make sure that low-income families in their communities know about the drive-thru locations, and to facilitate their ability to get there, if possible,” Kafferlin said. “Some churches have vans and are able to transport families, some can help supplement other meals by creating bagged meals in their own churches and creating additional drop-off locations without restricting the ages to under 18.”

“Another way that the Warren County churches are being asked to assist is to check on anyone who would be more vulnerable to COVID-19, such as the elderly, shut-ins, people who are recovering from surgery, etc.,” she said. “It is potentially dangerous for some of these individuals to be in public and they are being encouraged to stay home. Please go to every reasonable effort to make sure they have what they need in terms of food and other essentials.”

The staff at the Warren-Forest Higher Education Council “have made themselves available to assist with grocery pick-ups and deliveries for elderly people or anyone at risk by going into public,” Kafferlin said. “Anyone in need of this kind of assistance may call them directly at 814-723-3222.”

Love INC was planning to relaunch its call center next week. But, in response to COVID-19, the center is open now.

“The Love INC Call Center will be opening its phone lines ONLY for needs related to the COVID-19 shutdown,” Kafferlin said. “Hopefully, we can help capture some of the needs in our office and mobilize the churches to meet them.”

“The Love INC Call Center (and Director of Training and Case Management Cindy Dziendziel) may be reached at 814-563-3394 ext. 1,” she said.

“Stay calm, stay safe, and pray for Warren County and our nation as we endure this crisis together,” Kafferlin said. “Our leaders need your support and prayers during this crucial time.”

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