A new program at Colonial Church in Prairie Village helps people stay in touch and stay sane during the Coronavirus epidemic.
Called Care Partners, the program matches interested people with a partner, both of whom agree to check in on one another every 48 hours. The program is open to everyone. You don’t have to be a Colonial member to join.
Julie Luttman, Colonial’s Engagement Coordinator, runs the initiative. She says the program is unique in that it doesn’t provide the kinds of help churches usually provide, like food aid or financial assistance. Instead, it simply keeps people connected at this anxious, uncertain time. “A person’s care partner might be that one thing they need to stay grounded and know everything’s going to be okay,” she said. “It’s a concrete way to reach out that doesn’t put anyone in danger.”
Church member Linda Moses says the support she gets from her Care Partner has been invaluable. “Being in contact with someone else, it lets you know you’re not the only one hurting, bored, somewhat depressed.” An active volunteer, Moses said “everything I was involved with was wiped out” when Johnson County residents were told to start social distancing. Moses and her care partner email each other about everything from emotional support to TV shows. “It’s nice to know you might be helping someone in some way,” she said.
The idea for Care Partners came from Colonial pastor Aaron Roberts, who modeled the program after an initiative he started 11 years ago at his former church in Fargo, North Dakota. At that time, devastating floods in Fargo required whole sections of town to be evacuated. Care Partners was how his church kept track of people, “so that no one got left behind,” Roberts said. “And it worked! There was even a very dramatic story of someone getting rescued by helicopter after notifying her partner.”
Care Partners communicate with one another by whichever method they prefer: phone, email, or text. Luttman checks up on the partners once a week to make sure they are staying in touch and to see if anyone needs further assistance.
To be matched with a care partner of your own, fill out the online form at https://www.colonialucc.org/carepartner.html.