Sioux Falls, SD (Dakota News Now)- It is undoubtedly a stressful time for many people amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Many are social distancing, and some who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus are completely holed up at home to minimize their exposure. In Sioux Falls many churches are now banding together to help those in need and those who want to help.
The website Corona Help SF went live on Friday
"I think this is what Sioux Falls does. Every time I've been involved in something in the community people have rallied together. This is different though, I can really sense a level of anxiety in the community and a lot of stress among different segments of the population that maybe don't normally have stress. So I think unity is more important than ever,” said Pastor Rich Merkouris, one of the organizers.
Anyone in need in Sioux Falls can go to this site. They help with laundry, providing meals for kids and helping distribute necessities to those who can't leave their home due to the coronavirus..
"We're just providing a tangible encouragement to them where we know that hourly workers are probably losing some hours right now and so for us to provide laundry detergent, toilet paper, food allows them to maybe focus some dollars towards rent,” said Merkouris.
You can also go to the website if you want to help out. There's an option to donate, so the churches can stock up on necessities. Or you can sign up to volunteer to distribute items like Natalie Tegrootenhuis and her family did.
“Right now, when so many things are happening, being able to serve those who are in need and need this kind of assistance, it just kind of warms your heart. It makes you feel like together we can make it through this awkward and hard time,” said TeGrootenhuis.
There are over 750 volunteers in the Corona-Help Sioux Falls database waiting to help out.
"It's been overwhelming to see the amount of support that we've received from individuals, churches, people that have wanted to help and every time we've posted a specific opportunity volunteers have stepped forward,” said Merkouris.
Throughout this process, Merkouris says it's important that Corona Help Sioux Falls reaches everyone in the community, so a version of the website has been created in words Spanish.
"Sioux Falls, One Sioux Falls is not just those who speak English, but our community has got a broad diversity to it and we need to build a city where we welcome everyone and build community together,” said Merkouris.
Corona Help Sioux Falls has teamed up with the 2-1-1 Helpline Center. You can contact them if you need specific assistance finding help.