Serving in such a time as this
Community interaction best practices & COVID-19 Tips
Thank you for taking the time to visit this page and read some tips we have put together to help you navigate being the hands & feet of Jesus during the COVID-19 Pandemic. For those of you that may not be familiar with how Love INC operates, please feel free to watch our "Who We Are" video below. We are an extension of Churches in Benton County, existing to serve them so, together, we can transform lives and communities In the Name of Christ. We are praying for you and are honored to stand alongside you now, and in the days to come.
Best practices for community interactions
- Phone Communications: Dial *67 before the phone number when calling someone you do not know. This blocks your number from the caller ID. The block costs nothing, but only works for that call so you have to do this every time you call them.
- Note: Do not give out your phone number or last name. This is to protect you from unwanted phone calls for additional requests. Use your church’s office phone number as a contact number. You can also refer people to the Love INC helpline (541) 757-8111 for any additional requests, especially the following during COVID-19 measures: durable medical equipment, firewood, linens and blankets, and hygiene items.
- Do things in pairs: For safety’s sake, we suggest you take along a spouse, friend, or another adult for any type of delivery. With social distancing for COVID-19 we suggest you do not enter a residence, if possible. Always use common sense. Continue to use preventive practices like handwashing, 6-foot rule and not touching your face. If you are making a delivery, consider leaving items on the person’s porch while communicating via phone or knocking and stepping back to allow necessary space.
- Respond only to the specified need: focus on the reason and what you agreed to do. If other needs come up while you are interacting with the community member, refer them to your church office or to the Love INC helpline. This is a best practice for two reasons: 1) it helps you and your family continue to operate within safe boundaries and 2) it prevents the community member from depending solely on you. This may sound harsh but can be done with grace and love. Pray and do everything with wisdom and discernment.
- We strongly suggest you do not personally provide financial aid or medical care/assistance. Talk with your church staff for policies regarding these two areas.
- Offering prayer: Many people are open to receiving prayer when it is offered lovingly and respectfully. Always allow people to say no, if they are not comfortable. We recommend keeping prayers short and simple. When social distancing measures are lifted, we also recommend asking permission before touching anyone, even on the hand or shoulder.
- Share the joy: Please talk with your church staff for their policies for sharing the individual's private information. Love INC’s recommendation is to always respect and protect the community member’s personal information and dignity. That being said, you do have freedom to share the joy of the experience, as you played a part in blessing that individual and watching them receive tangible expressions of God’s love. Share in a way that doesn’t objectify people, but that glorifies Jesus as we follow his example in acts of serving and giving.
Extra tips for relating to senior citizens
- Remember the context: Senior citizens have a long life experience and are worthy of respect.
- Cautions they think about: Most senior citizens have been told multiple times to be careful of outside help. They have this concern for a reason because many of them have been victim to a scam and have reasons to be wary.
- Use the endorsement: If you were referred to help this individual by your pastor or Love INC, let them know! The endorsement from a familiar person/entity could be helpful.
- Respect and clarify: Most senior citizens who are particular about how things should be done often have a reason from past experience. They know how they work and what they need. Be patient, hear their explanation and do your best to comply as long as it is safe. The focus is relationship, not efficiency.
- Avoid arguments: Some elderly people may have an aversion to technology. This is why some do not shop online. It is understandable, given their age and experience to be leery of technology they often know little about. They have the right to keep their information private and do business in a way that makes them feel comfortable.
- Invest in the person: Like most of us, seniors love to be listened to and asked questions. Many are lonely and look forward to interactions. Your time and effort invested makes a difference! Thank you for caring!