Nonprofit finding new ways to support the community during pandemic

Nonprofit finding new ways to support the community during pandemic
The Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy is a non-profit that serves the community, as well as all police, firefighters, and EMS across the Tri-County area during times of crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they are doing more than ever to reach people and support them, but in a new way. (Source: Live 5/File)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy is a non-profit that serves the community, as well as all police, firefighters, and EMS across the Tri-County area during times of crisis.

They can commonly be seen on the scene of emergencies, especially when there is a fatality.

Right now, they are doing more than ever to reach people and support them, but in a new way.

“We’re going to be for them regardless. As we deal with that, we may have to change our little mannerisms of how we interact with them, but we’re still going to give them the same amount of care, the same amount of love, the same amount of hope, the same amount of compassion as we would as if we were standing right there next to them,” Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy volunteer Amaris Jenkins said.

The new government and CDC regulations are advising only “essential” staff be on the scene of crimes in order to reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19.

So, the chaplains are trying out a "telehealth" type approach.

The team says usually a lot of chaplaincy work involves holding hands and praying. They recognize the importance of this during some of the worst moments of people’s lives.

While this is hard for them to not do now, they are reaching people over text, phone calls, and video chats. They say they are most commonly using the video conference app Zoom. They want everyone to know they can get any form of video service you want.

“I think technology over time has allowed us to become isolated in our world, but I think this is a time where we’re using technology to make sure people are not isolated. I think it’s a time where we’re trying to make sure we are having those conversations with folks and that presence, even though it is through technology,” Senior Chaplain Rich Robinson said.

Robinson and his staff are here to support folks any time of day because they realize emergencies don't happen on a schedule.

The chaplains have also launched a private radio station for first responders to talk to them any time of day. The Summerville Police Chief says first responders are experiencing lots of anxiety, being the few who are working while everyone else is home. They also worry about their potential exposure and the possibility of spreading it to their family and friends.

"We're just happy to have them to help our victims and our officers get through uncharted territories that we've never seen before. These guys are extremely humble and they have no idea how much they impact the day-to-day operations of all of our first responders in the area," Jon Rogers, Chief of Summerville Police said.

You can call a chaplain with the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy anytime at 843-724-1212.

You can also check out all of their resources at http://coastalcrisischaplain.org/.

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