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COVID-19 Community Needs

What We've Learned (So Far)

Whatcom Love INC represents a partnership of local churches working together in seeking to love and serve our neighbors and community in the name of Jesus. In pursuing this work, we learn about community needs from our church and agency partners, and also from neighbors in need who are referred to our Call Center as a potential resource.

We are constantly at work to interpret this data to provide actionable information to our church partners, and to all people of good will who are seeking to bless and serve our community in this difficult time. This page represents a summary of our learning, and a peek into how we are structuring our ongoing learning and development process so that we can optimize our operations to build our resiliency and response as a community at every level.

Charts and Statistics

Above, you can see the needs that were expressed to our Call Center in August. The darker the green, the more reliable the resource that we were able to activate to help our neighbors in need. The darker the red, the fewer resources are available. Ultimately, as we recorded outcomes, we were able to connect about one-third of needs to a reliable resource in the community.  Most of the other two-thirds of the cases remain unresolved. 

Report on Aug

This video offers a detailed discussion of the August data, and gives some greater context on the trends and experience in the Call Center. As we’ve improved our data collection and analysis, we’ve been impressed by just how much “troubleshooting” is going on in the Call Center, and the important role that plays in congregations in our county trying to serve their neighbors who are experiencing situations of need!

In the first few weeks of the crisis, we posted an article and video detailing what we were seeing as 5 big needs in the community. While the need profile has changed a little bit — and on the whole feels less like an emergency — these needs are still relevant.

  1. Food. This is a major felt need. Fortunately, the resources in our community have not been depleted, and many options still exist.
  2. Gas Vouchers. Programs helping people get around have stalled as a result of the shutdown. We have been working to piece together a solution. It is still forthcoming.
  3. Furniture. People getting into housing with nothing have gone from having limited options, to having no options. We have been working to make some ad hoc connections, but the problem remains
  4.  Rent and Utilities. There are lots of worries here in spite of moratoriums. We’re expecting a wave of calls as stimulus and relief programs expire.
  5. Mental Health. The effect of social distancing isolation is amplified on people with existing mental health / addiction issues.

Where We're Going

  • VOMO Volunteer Mobilization Platform. We are eager to work with churches and agencies to help them utilize VOMO to facilitate recruiting and managing volunteers. Our staff is willing to help craft and curate VOMO opportunities, and work with other agencies who want to use the system. Let us know if you are interested…
  • Media production. We are experimenting with sharing some of the most valuable the learning we are doing with our partners through video, podcast, and written mediums. Let us know if you can help …
  • Learning Circles. We’re working to gather church and community leaders across organizational boundaries around common topics and themes for brief zoom meetings that enable connection, encouragement, and mutual learning. Think of these as “virtual flash mob think tanks!” Let us know if you’d like to participate …
  • The #3Practices. Whatcom Love INC continues to lean into the #3Practices we identified and have been advocating since the beginning of this crisis. In our communications and collaborations, we are continually drawing attention to these practices as the focal points of our energies, and we are encouraging church leaders (and community leaders as well) to lean in this direction.