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Shalom Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, S.D., is encouraging the formation of church networks to help communities facing difficulties in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shalom CRC and First CRC, also in Sioux Falls, are both part of Corona Help Sioux Falls, an online resource connecting help from the city's churches with people in need.

The outreach delivers necessities, runs food distribution, and offers assistance with laundry services to those who make requests. Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn at First CRC said the Sioux Falls churches "routinely work together in ministries like these."

“We helped a number of other distribution sites all across the state get started so they could more directly impact their communities as well," said Shalom CRC's outreach director Brendon De Boer. "While Corona Help Sioux Falls was the original entity, we highly encouraged each of these new distribution sites to be as independent as possible so that they can acutely diagnose and meet the needs of their communities; thus, Corona Help South Dakota was started.”  

Hoogendoorn said his congregation has families participating in the distribution for Corona Help Sioux Falls and the church contributed to the network's startup costs. The pastor said First CRC, which has been hosting online services as of March 15, would remain aware of COVID 19 but not be in fear of it.

“We have stressed in our church that while we should take COVID-19 seriously, we should not be paranoid. And while we will take and encourage necessary precautions, we should not live in fear. While our culture is dominated by paranoia and fear, the message of the church is always one of the confidence, security, and hope we have in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

The mayor of Sioux Falls, Paul TenHaken, a member of Shalom CRC, made national news mid-April as his city council considered a stay-at-home ordinance for the city, which would have singled out the municipality in a state without a wide stay-at-home order. Sioux Falls was experiencing a high number of COVID-19 cases, most in connection to an outbreak at a pork processing plant in the city. The council ended up withdrawing the ordinance.

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