Do we need to be in a state of crisis to give back?

From the death of Kobe Bryant to the coronavirus pandemic, it is safe to say that 2020 has not been our best year. While many are still mourning the loss of our idol and all of us are enduring COVID-19, there are many that experience struggles such as these, or much worse, every day. 

According to Benjamin Oreskes of the Los Angeles Times, there are over 50,000 individuals who are homeless in the county alone. While there have been bills passed and grants given, the progress toward homelessness aid has proven to be a slow-moving process. 

In 2018, Mayor Garcetti created the “A Bridge Home” program. According to Oreskes,  the goal was to have “at least one temporary [homeless] shelter in each City Council district.” However, as of January 2020, there were only a total of nine shelters built. 

We can see the consequences of the coronavirus impacting our daily lives, but what about those who were already in need before?

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, there has been an exceptional amount of progress made toward helping not only those that are homeless but also those who’ve become recently unemployed and medical professionals. 

As of this month, there have been “Fifteen thousand hotel and motel rooms for some of the state’s 151,000 residents experiencing homelessness,” said Alicia Victoria Lozano of NBC News.

With the largest homeless population in the state, Los Angeles has taken temporary housing efforts to a new level, hoping to provide over 15,000 beds to those living on the streets.

Local churches, pastors and congregations have set up “some version of food pantry, soup kitchen, or delivery to those in need,” said Ed Stetzer of Christianity Today. “Most noted explicitly of their efforts to maintain social distancing. More than a few adjusted their ministry to offer to drop off groceries or supplies,” continued Stetzer.

Reconfiguring outreach opportunities in order to continue ministering to the public is a vital shift in today’s climate. Churches are not the only ones making changes to help the public. Small businesses are doing all they can to continue to serve.

Switching from dine-in to takeout, creating a new family catering menu and offering delivery services are all ways in which small restaurants have evolved to stay afloat and feed the public. These alternatives benefit both the businesses and the consumers, and, if continued after the world goes back to “normal,” could benefit those who are still unable to travel on their own.

Shifting production from profit to protection is a common theme during times of crisis. Similar to small businesses, big companies such as Tito’s, Crocs and Ford are using their resources to produce supplies for the public and the medical professionals that are hard at work.

Tito’s and Ford have changed their production lines from vodka and cars to hand sanitizer and respirators. David Hessekiel of Forbes mentioned that in addition to respirators and ventilators, Ford “will also assemble face shields and use its 3D printing capacity to produce parts used in other personal protective equipment.”

While the Crocs company did not need to change their products, they have used what they already had to make a difference. By donating “10,000 pairs of shoes each day to healthcare workers,” Crocs is making a difference in the lives of medical workers and staff who are fighting this battle on the front line. 

All of these helpful changes have made an unfortunate circumstance a bearable one, but what happens after? Will the homeless be left to sleep on the streets? Will the businesses who are working so hard to help the public wipe their hands and go back to business as usual?

It is amazing to see how our country can support one another during this time when all are in need, but will we still be better people once COVID-19 has been eradicated? 

There was a need yesterday, there is a need today and there will be a need tomorrow. Who will continue to rise to the challenge?