Helping ‘Hands:’ Ministry at Columbia Presbyterian Church thriving during pandemic

Columbia Presbyterian Church, a small congregation that averages less than 50 people in attendance on Sunday mornings, has been supporting its Hands Across the Street (HAS) ministry since 2009, an initiative that provides food, clothing and shelter for the less fortunate in the Columbia, PA, area.

For programs that specialize in face-to-face outreaches, this time of the coronavirus pandemic brings about new challenges in communities where there are already plenty of hurdles to clear. And because of mandates restricting jobs and other lifestyle practices, these neighborhood programs that are being affected by COVID-19 actually have an even larger role to play in people’s lives and need to find a way under new regulations to thrive like never before.

Columbia Presbyterian Church, a small congregation that averages less than 50 people in attendance on Sunday mornings, has been supporting its Hands Across the Street (HAS) ministry since 2009, an initiative that provides food, clothing and shelter for the less fortunate in the Columbia, PA, area. This outreach – during pre-coronavirus days – would serve about 500 meals a month in the community. These days HAS is delivering 500 meals a day (five days a week) to neighborhood doorsteps.

“We’ve shifted our model a little bit,” said the Rev. Dave Powers, “from being a place where people gather in fairly large numbers for things like community meals and our coffee houses. Now we have non-congregant settings where we have been since March 17. We started as a walk-up grab-and-go thing, and then we shifted to meal delivery to keep social distancing and safety at the forefront.”

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