Pastor David Gambill, of Emmanuel Church of God in Christ in Pawhuska, said he hopes people displaced from their normal routines by the COVID-19 crisis will consider volunteering in the community, particularly to help charitable programs like the ones operated by the local ministerial alliance.


Gambill clarified he’ s not talking about a lot of time — perhaps two or three hours a week. He said that he thinks members of younger generations, Gen Xers and Millennials, would find the activity rewarding on a very personal level.


“They can make a difference,” he said. Under the general umbrella of the Pawhuska Ministerial Alliance are programs that offer regular food distributions for needy persons and families, as well as programs that address certain types of financial need. Gambill explained that the Ministerial Alliance, of which he is just one of numerous participating pastors, is implementing COVID-19 safety ground rules to help avoid the transmission of the illness.


“And we’re always looking for volunteers,” he said. “We’d love to have them.”


Gambill also said that Holy Week services, usually held in Pawhuska at the First United Methodist Church during the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, have been canceled for this spring. Along with the services, there is usually time for attendees to have a meal, and the services tend to draw far more people than public health authorities currently think is safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. Holding the public services would, therefore, run the risk of endangering the health of congregants.


“If somebody really has a need, reach out to a pastor and we’ll try to meet the need,” Gambill said, encouraging people in the community who may have personal and family needs to consider asking for help. He mentioned Pawhuska Bible Church and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church as being among the local faith organizations offering food aid. The backpack program that provides meals for school-age children is also continuing to operate, he said, and food distributions for that program are on Fridays.