COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A special donation aims to help Columbus churches safely reopen and continue helping their communities.
Saturday morning, volunteers set up at Unity Baptist Church on the east side of the city with the Eastern Union Baptist Association. The group hosted a drive-thru distribution event, handing out personal protective equipment.
“When people, who are able to give, give back and help with things such as this, it makes our job a little bit easier,” said Unity Baptist Pastor Vincent Golden.
Pastor Golden has been leading worship on Facebook live and during socially distant services in the church parking lot since COVID-19 health concerns shut down traditional services.
“Everybody’s anxious. Sometimes I just go sit in the sanctuary just to feel the atmosphere of the sanctuary,” Golden said. “It’s a little heartbreaking to see what some of the community is going through.”
Many of the 28 churches in the Eastern Union Baptist Association serve communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic, as well as the recent economic downturn and social challenges.
“[They come to us] not just for spiritual help, but it’s also for food and health, nourishment, light bills and helping them to maintain,” explained Benjamin McDay, president of the Eastern Union Baptist Association.
McDay said many of the churches are also facing additional challenges preparing to reopen their facilities for in-person worship.
“We want them to come to church, we want them to see who God is. But we also want them to be safe,” he said.
The organization appealed to Governor Mike DeWine’s office and received 7,000 donated masks. Additionally, the High Bank Distillery, Co. donated enough boxes of hand sanitizer for each church and volunteer groups sewed close to 1,000 more masks.
Saturday’s event was able to give each church in the district a box of sanitizer and a bag full of several hundred masks.
“Regardless of what your race is or your color, it doesn’t matter. They’re here helping us, so I just want to say thank you to those folks,” said McDay.
The Ohio Union Baptist Association president attended Saturday’s event. He said the drive-thru PPE distribution is something he’d like to expand statewide to other church districts.