From left to right: Emma Adcock, Mary Beth Southworth and Ali Southworth deliver a banner to Brandon Regional Hospital employees.

By Lily Belcher

The St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church has organized a COVID-19 relief program, Be a Blessing, to provide notes and gift cards for first responders and families financially impacted by the coronavirus. Donations collected through Be a Blessing will be delivered to hospital staff through Feeding the Frontline and to families through volunteers for St. Andrew’s.

The program is not just designed for the St. Andrew’s congregation, however. The Be a Blessing program gives the opportunity to nominate someone or apply for relief for themselves. Donors can also drop off notes of encouragement in collection bins outside the church, which will be distributed by volunteers, or make monetary donations on their website.

The Be a Blessing initiative began in April with a goal to help 125 families and frontline workers but have helped nearly double that in only two months. Katie Britt and Rachel Grafton have organized and helped distribute the gifts and plan to continue the program as long as the church continues to receive donations.

“What’s been wonderful about this whole initiative is that it has been a win-win-win for everybody,” said Rachel Grafton. “It obviously blessed the recipients but has also been a blessing to businesses that we are purchasing meals from and it’s always a blessing to serve in some way, shape or form, whether it is writing letters or donating money.”

While many churches have had to cancel weekly services and other outreach programs, St. Andrew’s is continuing their mission to serve the community. Through the Be a Blessing initiative, the church can remain open to helping and serving hospital staff, patients and members of the community and still play an active role in fulfilling their mission to serve.

For more information, contact Jessica Adams, the communications director of Be a Blessing, at jessica.adams@saumc.net. To make a donation or apply for or nominate someone for help, visit St. Andrews’ United Methodist Church’s website at www.saumc.net.