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Church volunteers reach out to help Lansing residents during pandemic

by Ashlee De Wit

LANSING, Ill. (March 16, 2020) — Village Trustee Jerry Zeldenrust is coordinating efforts between the Village and local churches to help local residents who are in need of assistance during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The Municipal Center anticipates that many of our elderly who are self-quarantined may be in need of deliveries of groceries, medications, and other items,” Zeldenrust said. “We just want to let everyone know that there are people out there who are willing to help in any way we can.”

Lansing residents who have questions and concerns, or find themselves in need of something essential, are encouraged to call the Village at 708-895-7200 to inquire about assistance. Village employees are in the office to answer the phones and direct calls to the appropriate party.

Zeldenrust has offered to use his network of Village employees and church members—developed during his time with Love for Lansing—to connect those who need help with those who are willing to offer it.

“We’ve already developed relationships,” he said. “We already have volunteers coming forward from the churches.”

Across the country, citizens have been advised to practice “social distancing” to slow the spread of this novel coronavirus and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. On Sunday, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced that all restaurants in the state would be closed for dining in. (See the Journal’s growing list of local restaurants who are adapting in order to continue serving patrons.) Pritzker had already closed all schools, public and private, for the rest of the month.

For days, grocery stores have been packed and shelves have been emptied as people rush to stock up on essentials in preparation for self-quarantine. Some items, such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer, are getting increasingly difficult to find.

Things across the country are changing rapidly as new information is announced. Lansing government officials are met Monday, March 16, and put out a formal statement that evening. (See “A message from Lansing Mayor Patty Eidam,” posted March 16, 2020.)

“We want to be a help, but don’t always know exactly how to be a help,” Zeldenrust said. “We’re in the initial stages [of this relief effort], but we’ll send updates [to The Lansing Journal] if anything changes.”

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Ashlee De Wit
Ashlee De Wit
Ashlee De Wit is a freelance writer and a Lansing native. After starting her career covering high school sports in Iowa, she's excited to be back in her hometown, reporting the stories of her local community — such as the opening of Troost, the informal Lansing pickleball club, a TF South Homecoming game, and Common Ground, Lansing's experiment with healthy race relations.