DENVER — As the world is reeling from the current outbreak of COVID-19, a group of community members in Northeast Denver are putting the phrase “love thy neighbor” into action.
Marcus Doe is the pastor of Providence Bible Church in Northeast Denver. In times like these, he said, it's the church's job to step up.
"Historically, the church has always been on the front lines during these kinds of tragic circumstances," Doe said.
When the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak became clear, Providence Bible Church followed tradition and immediately began planning.
"We realized - man, if they're going to quarantine people, a lot of folks in the Northeast Denver area are going to be affected negatively.
"So we started brainstorming. And we realized - with the right precautions - we could still help people get groceries delivered, get prescriptions filled, get school kids their lunches," Doe said. "If folks need to get to work and they needed emergency childcare, we could help with that."
With the help of six other Northeast Denver churches, that's exactly what they're doing. It's a movement they're calling 'Love Northeast Denver' and the goal is simple - love thy neighbor.
"This is the epitome of love your neighbor," Doe said. "I mean anything that we feel like we can accomplish to make people's lives just a little bit brighter during this time, I think that's what we're going for - while taking extreme precautions and not putting our folks at risk."
Love Northeast Denver is serving residents in the surrounding neighborhoods in the 80216, 80205, 80207 and 80022 zip codes, as well as members of any of the seven partner churches:
- Church in the City
- Denver Presbyterian
- Grace and Peace
- Providence Bible Church
- Summit Church
- The Embassy Church
- The Hills Church
The website - lovenortheastdenver.com - launched on Tuesday, March 17. By Saturday, four days later, the Love Northeast Denver movement had 75 volunteers and more than $15,000 in donations. Doe said every dollar is going toward fulfilling the community's requests.
"We're just following tradition, taking precautions, and loving our neighbors," Doe said.
Love Northeast Denver is helping with:
- Prescription delivery
- Social and emotional support
In less than a week, volunteers fulfilled 50 requests in Northeast Denver neighborhoods.
"We have no way of knowing how long this epidemic will last," Doe said, "but for as long as it does we will be here serving our community and helping each other get through it any way we can."
Love Northeast Denver and Pastor Marcus Doe are also hopeful their model will catch on. "I think we're hoping that this spreads to other parts of the city, other parts of the country," he said, "where people and churches feel like they can do this kind of thing where they are too."
"The shelves may be bare," Doe said, "but the house of The Lord is never bare."
If you live in one of the Northeast Denver neighborhoods and have a request, you can fill out a request form here.
If you want to volunteer or donate, visit the Love Northeast Denver website.
If you need someone to talk to about the stress or fears you have in this uncertain time, or if you just want someone pray with you, Love Northeast Denver has created a hotline specifically to take those calls.
Love Northeast Denver Hotline: (720) 673 - 9994