Recommendations on how Masjids can support the community during this COVID-19 Crisis
Submitted by Amina Bey
The Council of Imams as a collective can establish a few committees to aid and assist the community during this crisis:
A. Spiritual and Counseling
This committee is responsible for setting up a collective prayer line. Believers can call into this line at the same time every day. Imams from the Council will rotate reading a brief passage from the Qur’an and making Dua for those who are suffering in any capacity. The call is no more than 15 mins.
There is also a number that can be set up for people to call if they need counseling. This is a mental health check as these are very stressful times and people feel depressed, isolated and desperate. Again, volunteers can assist.
A. Wellness Check
This committee would be responsible for making and receiving calls to ascertain on the general well-being of the community member and connect them to the resources and services they need – especially the seniors and disabled.
A. Distribution and Logistics
This committee would be responsible for bringing food and other necessities to the person (seniors, sick, home-bound and disabled), as well as taking them out for necessities (prescriptions, laundry, shopping, doctor).
Set up a GoFundMe page, a Facebook Fundraiser and other means to raise funds for the sole purpose of creating a fund for Muslims in dire need. Also, Masjids that have a 501c3 non-profit entity can apply for several grants that are currently available. This committee will get information on all available funding for religious institutions and share with the Council.
A. Public Information
This committee will gather the ever changing and evolving information and provide it to the masses via phone, e-mail and social media.
COVID-19 Testing, Food Donations, Executive Orders and Ordinances
They will be the point of contact on resources, services, programs and general COVID-19 information for our area and will share with the collective.
Each Masjid can create a list consisting of Believers that attend the Masjid, as well as just people you know. Call out for volunteers to utilize the list to do Wellness Checks on the Believers. This can be done in a few ways:
A. Set up a robo-call
It’s like a mass e-mail but for the telephone. Enter in all of the phone numbers and record a message. You can provide information on what services are available, a number to call if they are in need, leave a word of encouragement and even a passage from The Holy Qur’an. The call can be scheduled for the same time every day.
Have the volunteers physically call each person on the list to see if they are ok and if they need anything. They can also text and e-mail.
A. If there are no responses to phone and e-mail, then an in-person wellness check can be arranged.
Request volunteers from retired or at-home educators and social workers to set up virtual tutoring sessions and counseling sessions with parents and students. This can be done through ZOOM, WEBex and other free teleconferencing applications. Some parents are overwhelmed and need some assistance.
Although we cannot conduct salat virtually, we can still break bread together. During the Holy Month of Ramadan the Council of Imams can set up a Zoom or other teleconference Iftar every Saturday or Sunday after Maghrib. This will help the community feel connected, especially those who live alone and look forward to being with the Believers. People can join through video or phone.