“You will not fear… the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.”
Back in March, on the first day of sheltering-in-place, my friend Kay James of The Heritage Foundation contacted me, “Joni, we want you to serve on the National Coronavirus Recovery Commission (NCRC). We need you and your team’s expertise to ensure that seniors and people with disabilities are protected in the next wave of coronavirus!” I jumped at the chance.
Our Commission included national experts in medicine, economics, government, business, disaster relief, education and religion.
“Decision-makers in all levels of government, including the White House, are looking to our group for guidance,” Kay explained.
And guidance is desperately needed. Looking back, consider this…
The brunt of COVID-19 hit the medically fragile and seniors the hardest. One-third of all US coronavirus deaths were people who either resided or worked in nursing homes.
Most stay-at-home Americans did not receive the basic healthcare they would have under normal conditions. Under the widespread shelter-in-place orders, America’s healthcare took a step backward.
The coronavirus caused a huge disruption in social and educational services for children with special needs, placing an enormous burden on parents. Trying to work from home while doing 24/7 homecare pushed many families to the breaking point.
Lack of integration among public services meant that people with disabilities had no access to much-needed services or were completely overlooked.
The uneven triaging of healthcare services had an adverse impact on the chronically ill and elderly. And when people with chronic conditions did receive treatment, hospitals would not allow family members or personal care helpers to attend them.
We must do better on the “other side” of COVID 19.
In the future, our leaders must not respond with a ‘sledgehammer’ approach. It’s why our report, Saving Lives and Livelihoods: Recommendations for Recovery is so critical. Our Commission adopted a 5-phase plan to reopen America and combat the coronavirus. The plan is about empowering individuals, families, churches and businesses – the bedrock of America – to make informed decisions as we navigate our way through the post-COVID 19 world.
My fellow Commissioners enthusiastically responded to my concerns for the elderly and those with disabilities. Your Joni and Friends team and I were able to, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up… for the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8).
This ministry is having a national impact in supporting people with disabilities and the elderly in the name of Jesus!
As we move forward, we must safeguard the vulnerable, the weak and medically fragile, people with disabilities, and the elderly who are our nation’s heritage and who deserve our protection, respect, and gratitude. I am confident that as our nation ‘puts to work’ our Commission’s recommendations, we will prayerfully survive and thrive in the years to come. And Lord willing, we shall see America at her best.
I want you to have your personal copy of Saving Lives and Livelihoods: Recommendations for Recovery. Download the document below and share these 300 common sense recommendations with your state legislators, mayor, city councilmen, and other decision-makers.
Together, let’s help America do better.
And thank you for your prayers and gifts which help us champion the cause of Christ among our nation’s most vulnerable relations… you are part of the Joni and Friends’ team and we couldn’t do it without you!