First Congregational Church
(United Church of Christ)
Rev. Toby Jones, Pastor

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

How Can I Help?

This is one of the big questions on everyone’s mind. Especially in this time of physical distancing, when the best thing we can do is stay home. This is true, but it isn’t the only thing we can do. This post is not meant to guilt or shame anyone, but to encourage those of us who are wondering what to do with extra time to see it as a gift and not a burden.

Here is a growing and evolving list of how to contribute to the community. Of course, as recommendations and needs change, so too will the best way to be involved. If you have updated information to add, please pass it along.

Practice Generosity In Your Own Way

The changes to our social fabric are only beginning to be felt, and they will be wide-reaching. We are being called to share our time, talents, and treasures in new ways. This isn’t just talking about money.  Frederick Buechner described it well when he wrote, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” It is only together that we make up the body of Christ, the presence of Jesus on this earth today. While there are always things that have to be done, they do not feed our souls. 

“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Social and moral support

I wonder if the powers that be got the branding right by calling it “social distancing.” It might be factual but it also reinforces the idea that we are isolated from one another. We can still connect with people in so many different ways.  I prefer “Physical distancing” and “Social Connecting.”

 Many of us are already reaching out to family and friends to see how they are doing, and to be comforted in turn. Extend that circle a bit further. Include a neighbor or a church member that might be lonely. Think of those you know who work or serve in essential services, check in on them as if they just lost a loved one. 

Sometimes, moral support is just about asking better questions when we talk to one another. Instead of asking “How are you?” Try:

  • Tell me about your day.
  • What has been the best part \ frustrating part \ most exciting part of your day?
  • What made you laugh today?  What made you sad? 
  • How did you take care of yourself today?
  • When did you feel appreciated?
  • What do you wish you could have done more of \ less of today?
  • What’s been on your mind?

Skill Sharing

Each person has different gifts that can be shared. Here are some examples particularly relevant to our church members

Sewing Face masks

Munson Healthcare has asked for face masks, and it is likely that there will be recommendations for all people going out to wear face masks to protect others in case we have the Covid-19 virus but don’t show symptoms. Munson Healthcare will accept any style, any pattern, and any designs of hand-sewn face masks. They are gladly accepting all donations of hand-sewn masks. Here are the two instructions shared by Munson. You can also read more about how to donate masks on their webpage: How You Can Help



Planting Vegetable Gardens instead of flowers

Right now, the focus is on self-quarantine to flatten the curve of new infections. This is necessary, but it is also putting a great strain on our economy. In the last two weeks, over 9 million US workers have been laid off. This will strain our social services well beyond their capacity. One way we can help is by planting vegetable gardens, much like the Victory Gardens during World War II. 

Making Gifts

One of the love languages is giving and receiving gifts. So, make what makes you happy, and find people to share it with.

Sharing Resources

Munson is currently looking for the following items – new or unused and unscented

  • Disposable face masks
  • Disposable stethoscopes
  • Thermometers
  • N95 and KN95 masks (sometimes called respirators)
  • Eye protection including face shields and safety goggles
  • Disposable gowns
  • Disposable gloves, especially non-latex
  • Disposable surgical caps
  • Disposable foot covers
  • Wipes: bleach or antimicrobial
  • Hand sanitizer

Woodworkers, look in your shops, see if any of your masks are N95. 


Financial donations

Coming soon, links to local organizations that are doing social service support!


Good links to local sources of information

Health Department of Northwest Michigan 

Munson Healthcare: How you can help 

Charlevoix County Helping Hands Facebook Group