So much has happened in the C4C ministry during the first quarter of 2020. As I was thinking about this blog entry, I thought how I could write about our new kids’ program, or how the Ronald McDonald corporation chose us as a site for their retired playground equipment, or how the Jacksonville Armada F.C. generously donated size 1 soccer balls to us, or the Board’s recent trip to the island as part of the team from Chets Creek Church and the amazing changes that were made to the layout of the court seating, or how two of our Board members stayed an extra week for some vacation time only to be stranded behind closed borders… and this last topic leads me to talk about COVID-19. All the other things are absolutely wonderful and I am hopeful to share more about them in future blogs, but right now the story of the virus take priority as it deeply affects the island of Roatan and the people we serve.
While we were onsite in Roatan, we had heard the beginning rumblings about the virus but it was still something that was happening far away. Fully engaged in our work every day, away from the stream of news, we were unaware at how quickly the ripple effects of this virus were reaching the United States. Instead, we were excited about the improvements being made to the property and working side-by-side with our Honduran friends. When it was our scheduled time to leave, the whole team headed back to the USA with the exception of two of our Board members who extended their trip to include a week of vacation. We arrived home late Wednesday night to learn that we should all self-isolate due to our travel through an international airport. By Saturday, the ripple effect of the virus was hitting Honduras and by Monday they had shut down the Honduran borders – no one was getting in, no one was getting out. Our two Board members, Chris and Theresa, were stranded trying to figure out how they would get back home.
Shutting the borders to Roatan is critical for the health and safety of those on the island. With extremely limited healthcare and no running water in one part of the community we serve, the virus could quickly and easily spread. On the other hand, tourism is the main source of income for those in Roatan. Those who live in the community we serve are highly dependent on the cruise ships coming. They do not have a paycheck-to-paycheck life, but they have a day-to-day life based on the tips they receive. With the borders firmly closed, how would they eat and feed their families for the next 20, 30, 40 days? There are no emergency credit cards, or emergency saving funds, government support or even food banks/feeding programs.
The Care4Communities Board has had to make some decisions. With the overwhelming needs in the community, we always have to set our eyes on our mission – sharing the love of Jesus through sports and education. We have to focus on our chosen tools of sports and education in order to be effective and purposeful. But this is different. The Board quickly voted to use the remaining funds from the mission trip to partner with our local church to assemble bags of rice, beans, and flour/oil for tortillas. It is basic, but it would allow us to feed the maximum amount of families as possible. Chris and Theresa met with our teacher, our Sports Mentor and the local Pastor to get the process started. Since then, other non-profit/ service organizations have stepped up and continued the effort. At this point, we are only two weeks into the island’s quarantine and the situation is very fluid, but government officials have wisely not budged about no one entering the island during at least the thirty-day period if not more. We have already had people begin to donate specifically towards C4C providing rice/beans to those we serve. If you would like to help us feed families during this critical time, please donate as a general donation at the link below and send me an email that you would like to dedicate the funds for the feeding program.
Gloria and the C4C Board
(Chris and Theresa are safely back home in the USA now undergoing their
14 day self-isolation period)