Our Growing Hygiene Ministry
Especially in this time, hygiene needs to be a top priority for our community, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. Our Hygiene Ministry at Bright Bridge Ministries, which has addressed the hygiene needs of under-resourced individuals in the Pensacola community since the organization was founded in 2007, continues at this time, serving even more people than before. While this ministry typically serves around 80-100 individuals per month, the numbers for last month doubled to around 200! Sue Collyer, committed Hygiene Ministry leader for almost eleven year, has worked with her regular team of volunteers, and others at Bright Bridge, to keep the ministry going with special attention to the health and safety of all those involved.
Adapting our Hygiene Ministry to Keep Safely Serving Those in Need
Hygiene items are still distributed on the first Tuesday and Thursday of each month, from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., at Bright Bridge Ministries. Moving from a custom, on-site assembly of the hygiene kits, in our dining room, amongst a large crowd, to an outdoor table for distributing generic, pre-made hygiene kits, Sue and her team have adapted the ministry to current public health guidelines. Recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines have encouraged social distancing (staying 6 feet apart from others), and for those 65 and over to stay at home, as they are at an increased risk. In compliance with these guidelines, the sidewalk on the DeSoto Street side of Bright Bridge Ministries’ building, where the Hygiene Ministry’s table is located, has been marked with X’s 6 feet apart, to encourage social distancing as people wait in line to receive hygiene items. Also in compliance with CDC guidelines, regular volunteers who are ages 65 and over now pre-assemble hygiene kits, and other Bright Bridge volunteers and staff hand the kits out to the public, so the older volunteers may protect their health by avoiding contact with others. Prior to the coronavirus, Sue’s Hygiene Ministry team included her right-hand helper Betty Porter, David Russo, who would break down large containers of shampoo, lotion, conditioner, dish-washing liquid, detergent, and Tylenol into smaller sizes, and other dedicated volunteers Beckie Mullen, Leroy Lowe, John and Stella Emmert, Judy Jonik, Anna Gray, Kim Collins, and Jennifer Molvik. Betty, Beckie, Jennifer, and Sue are the main members who have taken charge of the Hygiene Ministry since the coronavirus began. Although Sue hopes the time will come when she and her team can hand out individually-tailored hygiene kits in person, she says, “We are blessed to be able to provide them with the basics for the time being.”