On Tuesday, March 17, Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson announced the creation of the Genesee County Community Care Task Force in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two local congregations, The Rock Church and The Freedom Center, are participating members.
Genesee County has four confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Friday, March 20, and more people are working from home to help slow the spread. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered dine-in services at bars and restaurants to shut down until late March, and customers are bulk buying at stores.
Swanson announced the creation of the Community Care Task Force, over livestream on the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, to address these concerns.
“Over the last couple days, we have seen an increase in, what I call, concern over basic food goods,” he said. His goal is to alleviate the stress that comes with social isolation and ensure residents have necessities, such as food, baby products, hygiene supplies, transportation, counseling, needed medications and more.
“Everything is operating. It’s going to be okay. I keep saying that. We’re going to make it through,” he said. “In the meantime, we want to have good prevention. We put together what’s called a community care task force.”
During the livestream, about a dozen faith-based leaders stood behind Swanson at the podium.
“We don’t know how it’s going to turn out. There could be more restrictions coming. Right now, the churches don’t meet. The restaurants are closed. People are starting to ask questions. The folks behind me are going to bring you peace and encouragement. They’re also going to bring you toiletries, food, transportation, anything you need,” he said.
Swanson deputized them on the livestream. It’s in effect for 90 days. In the event that more restrictions are put in place and people are confined to their homes, this allows these faith-based leaders to overcome obstacles in delivering food and needed supplies to in-need county residents with the full backing of the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office.
A full list of participating churches is available at gcsomichigan.com. Residents can see which church in their area can help. Residents, and churches who wish to participate, can also call the sheriff’s office at (810) 257-3422 with any questions.
“I’m calling on the faith-based community in Genesee County and Flint to serve the people,” he said.
The Freedom Center and The Rock Church are in region three, which covers Fenton, Linden, Fenton Township, Argentine Township and more. Pastor Wes Morris of The Rock Church spoke on the livestream and thanked Swanson for his efforts.
“I just want to say on behalf of The Rock Church and everyone here behind us, we are happy to support our local government and our federal government,” Morris said. “We will be happy to meet physical needs as best we can.”
He said he’s praying for wisdom and strength for our government, and that if people have worries and don’t know where to turn to, churches will offer the hope of the gospel.
“We are an active resource for all of Genesee County to meet physical and spiritual needs,” Morris said. “If there’s anybody out there that is alone and wants to talk or has a need that is not being met, they can call us. We’ll try to help.”
Call The Rock Church at (810) 629-2444. Call the Freedom Center at (810) 629-5261 or the Center of Hope (810) 620-8167.