For San Diego’s Rock Church, Community Service is Key
The Rock Church's volunteer corps is now retrofitting 300,000 M95 respirator masks that were out-of-date and whose elastic bands had rotted while in storage.
Posted on April 10, 2020
Religion and spirituality are extremely personal subjects and there are churches, mosques, synagogues, and other houses of worship dedicated to different aspects of spirituality and the means by which to express it. For San Diego’s Rock Church, an evangelical ministry with five campuses across the county, spirituality is expressed via community service and engagement.
“We are all about establishing hope and serving our community, and so our members are always actively challenged to serve,” says Dr. Mickey Stonier, an executive pastor with the Church. “We also have ongoing programs with the military, police, and fire departments, as well as relationships with the Office of Emergency Services, the Health Department, and the Medical Examiner. As the pandemic started to unfold, the county knew it could rely on our group to leverage and deploy a lot of volunteers, especially when it comes to health and safety protocols.”
Founded by former San Diego Charger cornerback Pastor Miles McPherson, Rock Church is one of San Diego’s largest ministries, reaching 18,000 congregants a week across its five campuses as well as 20,000 online. With facilities currently closed, the service this past week was live-streamed to more than 80,000 devices.
That massive volunteer corps is now retrofitting 300,000 N95 respirator masks that were out of date and whose elastic bands had rotted while in storage. The masks themselves were deemed reusable, and Rock Church members are now attaching new elastic bands at a rate of some 8,000 per day. It is tedious, labor-intensive work, especially when done while wearing gloves and masks and maintaining proper distancing protocol, but the work will continue as long as necessary and it is far from Rock Church’s only project.
Across San Diego, organizations are partnering with the county to meet critical needs. In addition to the mask retrofit, Rock Church and Rady Children’s Hospital have partnered to collect, track, and distribute donated critical-need medical equipment.
Hospitals, healthcare centers, nursing facilities, outpatient centers, and community shelters are reporting their daily needs and any surplus to the county’s Health and Human Services department — information that is being paired with details from individuals and businesses that can donate needed protective equipment including masks, face shields, and ventilators.
County Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox says the goal is to “standardize and simplify the collection and distribution of much-needed protective gear.” Dr. Patrick Frias, president and CEO of Rady Children’s applauds the effort, saying, “Our public health officials and elected officials are doing everything possible to come together to ensure the health and well-being of our community.”
San Diego and California have thankfully been doing well when it comes to battling COVID-19. For more information on The Rock Church, visit sdrock.com.
Photography courtesy of Jeremy Sukup, The Rock Church