OC church gathering food, supplies to donate to those affected by virus outbreak
(March 27, 2020) The First Presbyterian Church of Ocean City was ready with diapers, formula, wipes, baby food and nonperishable items to help families affected by the coronavirus pandemic this week.
Rev. Daniel McKenty and his wife, Tina, presented bags of supplies to families who drove up to the back entrance of the church on Dayton Lane between 13th and 14th streets. The couple dubbed the initiative, “Operation Wee Ones.”
“With so many of the hospitality workers that have been laid off and there’s a lot of effort to get the school kids lunches, but we thought a lot of them have small children – babies, toddlers – and those items are expensive,” Rev. McKenty said.
They handed out the supplies from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday to Friday this week and will continue next week if there is a need and if they still have supplies.
McKenty said the donation response has been positive.
“We’re starting to get donations from members outside the church,” McKenty said. “We’ve been sharing it on social media and people seem receptive to it.”
When a family pulls up to the church back entrance, the McKentys give them a sheet of paper with a list of all the supplies available. The family checks off what they need and the McKentys put the supplies in the car for them while wearing protective gloves and masks.
The church has also purchased $800 in Food Lion gift cards to give to the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, which will then distribute to families in need.
First Presbyterian, like many other churches, has been worshipping online and limiting the number of people that can come into the building at once.
“We’re trying to follow the [government] guidelines and restrictions … at the same time,” McKenty said. “If we can’t sit in God’s pews, we can be his hands and his feet and his boots on the ground.”
The church is still trying to meet community needs, while also maintaining proper social distancing to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
“To call in, to talk to a pastor, to be able to share prayer, to be able to share scripture, to help your immediate neighbors, that’s what the gospel’s about,” McKenty said. “That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to hold it together.”
Those who wish to donate can drive by the back entrance of the church during the Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon pick-up hours. McKenty said more baby wipes, baby food and other nonperishables for older children are needed.
For more information, call the church office at 410-289-9340 or visit its Facebook page, “First Presbyterian Church.” Alternate arrangements can be made for donations or pick-up outside the regular 10 a.m. to noon time slot.