VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Grace Bible Church member Susan Wadsworth is just one of thousands of people impacted by COVID-19.
As a respiratory therapist working on the front lines, and a single mom to two young kids, Wadsworth needed help and Grace Bible Church provided.
“Thank you so much to my Grace family and everything you guys have done to support me and my little family during this rough season,” said Wadsworth. “With delivering groceries to me and watching my kids, and bringing gifts unexpectedly, and making headbands to help save our ears with wearing masks all day, and making homemade masks, all these things have been huge in helping me get through these last four weeks.”
The church has been helping the community for years, but as the need grew when the pandemic took hold, so did Grace’s mission.
Eric Sanzone is the co-lead pastor at Grace Bible Church’s Lynnhaven campus. He said the church has partnered with several local organizations and schools.
“We’re for the 757,” Sanzone said. “Throughout the pandemic the question was if we’re for the 757, what do people need? What they really need is hope.”
Grace Bible Church members have stepped up in a big way.
Local Outreach Director Melanie Lee said for the last five months, the congregation has provided more than 4,000 bagged meals and snacks for the homeless; sent more than 3,500 encouraging notes and cards to residents in local rehab and retirement communities to combat loneliness, made hundreds of masks for the medical community and much more.
Bagged dinners are dropped off weekly to families and those in need at the JCOC. The church has also held blood drives.
Ryan Levis is the pastor at Grace Bible Church’s Norfolk campus. He said members offer hope, prayer and help for those who need it most.
“We feel like it’s our responsibility as followers of Jesus to show his love and his grace,” Levis said. “You never know just the small thing that’s going to really help someone find hope right now.”
The congregation has helped upwards of 5,000 people with no shortage of volunteers willing to step up and rise to the occasion.
“When things are hard, you see people coming together,” said Levis. “You see people bond together and unite around the common human need.”
Levis said the church not only focuses on its members that may need help, but also those outside of the church community.
“It just gives people perspective because sometimes you feel disconnected from what’s happening and you don’t realize that the little bit you’re contributing to the community and the little bit you’re giving is actually making a much bigger impact, and it’s being multiplied,” he said.