The coronavirus outbreak caused Abundant Life Church of Damascus, Ore., to temporarily cease meeting on Sundays, but it hasn’t stopped its population of some 2,200 from an outreach mission to locals in need.
Among Abundant Life Church’s deeds is making hundreds of phone calls to seniors and delivering thousands of pounds of food and goods to charities.
“The church is closed and they need to reopen, but the reality is, we’ve never been closed. We’re as busy as we’ve ever been,” said Jeff Boxwell, ALC’s pastor of outreach and development.
When services temporarily ceased in mid-March, church members began to reach out to their older population on a regular basis, asking if they had any needs such as groceries or prescription medicine. The mission progressed from there, as ALC was put in contact with the Clackamas County sheriff chaplain. The county had a need to contact as many of the 33,000 seniors and vulnerable people in its area.
“Most are doing OK. With coronavirus, one of the big things is loneliness. They really appreciate the call,” Boxwell said.
ALC has partnership with many local charities, such as Catholic Charities. During the past three weeks, ALC has loaded up two trucks weekly with food donated by local organic growers, along with other essential goods. It delivered to Catholic Charities for distribution to refugee families in Portland. ALC puts out occasional calls to its churchgoers for non-perishable food, which is used to restock local food pantries.
During a typical Easter service, ALC does a second collection that can raise as much as $70,000 to help local charities. But no Easter services this year meant pivoting. Instead, ALC asked its membership to give by filling their cars with food and household goods to aid Portland Rescue Mission.
At each of its three campuses, cars lined up the afternoon of Easter. They filled a large U-Haul truck and two 15-passenger van with some 5,000 pounds of goods.