The Spencer County Catholic parishes of St. Boniface in Fulda and St. Meinrad in St. Meinrad each received a $3,000 grant to assist local residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Rapid Response grants were distributed by the Spencer County Community Foundation.
Fr. Anthony Vinson, OSB, pastor of the two parishes, said the grants will be used to help local people who may be most vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak. “The virus may be keeping us from gathering physically as a parish family, but we can still look out for each other and our neighbor as members of the body of Christ,” he said.
The grant money is being used for four programs:
• Assembling and distributing care packages of staple food items to people who are at higher risk according to the CDC, not forgetting the sick, infirm and homebound parish members and others in the local area. Volunteers make safe deliveries about every two weeks.
• Purchasing and integrating technology for parish nurses to use in helping senior citizens gain access to medical care through telemedicine, and providing pharmacy gift cards that can be used to buy medicine for seniors and others impacted by the economic downturn and loss of employment;
• Providing resources to livestream weekly and daily worship services, Bible studies and social gatherings, especially for those who need to stay at home to avoid exposure to COVID-19; as well as accessibility to online services that may be needed during business closures.
• Collaborating with social workers at local schools to provide food for students during the summer as part of the BackPack Program.
Several individuals and groups have been getting the programs started, said Fr. Anthony. Parishioners and volunteers from as far as Iowa, Kansas and Kentucky have been making face covers to distribute with the deliveries. “Individuals learned of this need while watching Mass livestream from our homepage,” Father added.
Members of both parishes have been assisting, as well as members of the St. Meinrad Volunteer Fire Department and its Ladies Auxiliary. Businesses such as Holiday Foods have been helpful with food items and bags as well as Prairie Farms. Sam Schwoeppe, representing Prairie Farms and Feeding America, was instrumental in assisting with the donation of many dairy items for the food packages.
If you know of someone who might benefit from assistance or who would like to make a contribution to the programs, email firstname.lastname@example.org.