Coping With Disruption: Some Mississippi residents cope by volunteering during pandemic

Kennedi Cooper
Oxford Stories

Cearra Moore
Oxford Stories

It all happened so fast, and some are still trying to make sense of the necessary life changes they are experiencing since COVID-19 became a global threat. Different people are dealing with it in different ways and pondering what it all means.

Valeria Brown, a Tougaloo College student, said there have been many news stories lately about destruction and corruption.

“Unfortunately, we have been confined to our homes and separated from people,” she said. “We’ve seen how much nicer people are and how fast it has affected others to do the same.

“We are able to grow closer to God and reflect on parts of ourselves we may not have known yet, thus allowing us to become better humans.

“It seems like whenever tragedy happens, it unites us all for a positive correction and accentuates the better part of humanity. It is almost like a course-correction for all humans.”

Tyjanique Reed helps customers wearing gloves and a mask at her job inside a local grocery store.

Tyjanique Reed, 20, of Coffeeville, said she has been concerned about the situation.

“I had all the resources I needed to complete my work while at school,” she said, “but now I lack some of those sources.”

In the meantime, she tries to stay positive and help others at her grocery store job.

“I grocery shop for the elderly that come to my job for items so that they can dodge the lines and stay safe within their vehicles,” Reed said. “This whole pandemic has brought about many challenges for me and my family, but it has also brought us closer together.”

Marcus Hatfield, a member of Progressive Missionary Baptist Church in Jackson, has also been volunteering.

“The purpose of my volunteering is to put myself in their shoes to better my humbleness,” he said. “I think having a good food bank within a church that is surrounded by an underprivileged community in their time of need, which is currently dealing with COVID-19. The community is benefiting from this church food bank because of the shelter in place, and many of the parents in the community have been laid off from their jobs.”

Hatfield said he volunteers with the Mississippi Food Network, helping Jackson residents by dispensing meals and other resources to those in low-income communities.

“I volunteer to help those that are unable to acquire food themselves and to especially aid those that are at a significant disadvantage and face possible hunger,” he said. “This especially includes children that are unfortunate victims of inadequate home lives and poverty, thus facing possible unnecessary hunger.

“In simply volunteering at food banks during dangerous times, I am helping those that may not be able to help themselves, providing them some sort of security in such uncertain and concerning times.”

Allen Javon, a Rust College student, said this experience has taught him that you should never take life for granted.

“Cherish the ones you love,” he said. “You have to be cautious of your surroundings. The only thing I’m afraid of is losing a loved one.

“It’s crazy how we are all so caught up in our lives that we don’t stop and think about the important things. This is all about adapting to this new lifestyle.”

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