Doing good in the face of a pandemic

Some pastors are using whatever little they have to feed hungry families as Covid-19 takes a toll on church and personal incomes

As tithes and offerings dwindle due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to reduced incomes and, in some cases, job losses, churches are faced with the double dilemma of taking care of growing numbers of needy people and settling their own operational costs.

On April 8, Pastor Felix Kavoi of Redeemed Gospel Church in Buru Buru, Nairobi, posted a photo of foodstuffs on Facebook with this caption: “Without knowing where or when to get next offerings into church finances, I had to use whatever little I had to feed 60 hungry families. It is no joke, people have lost jobs and church is their hope. I don’t know what to give next but we look to God.”

Bishop Andrew Ouma of International Christian Assemblies in Kibera had earlier also sent out an appeal for food donations on Facebook. He said Kibera slum was one of the places greatly affected by the government’s restrictions on movement due to the pandemic.

“As a church, we have responded by supporting the very needy families with food supplies, i.e. dry cereals, cooking oil and cabbage. This goes a long way to help families that cannot go out to look for food. The programme has been in place for the last two weeks; however, the food bank has a limited supply that cannot last many days due to the high demand. We appeal to friends and partners to support this noble cause. The best time to be Church is now by practically showing the love of Christ and making use of this opportunity to preach Christ,” he posted on April 3.

Many people, especially in the lower income brackets, are finding it increasingly difficult to put food on the table and the first place they are looking to for help is the Church.

On April 6, the government approved the use of more than Sh40 billion to cushion needy households in urban areas from economic shocks following reduced activity in the wake of the pandemic.

The cash was to come from funds raised from austerity measures effected at both national and county government levels, including the cutting of international and domestic travel and Sh2 billion recovered proceeds from corrupt deals.