DHG Alumni Spotlight: Offering Help and Hope in Response to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting us all in one way or another. True to the DHG values, our people and alumni want to help. We are sharing the stories of two DHG alumni giving back and making a difference during this time of unprecedented change and crisis.
Former DHG principal with a degree in clinical psychology, Brooks Gallagher felt his experience could be beneficial for DHG employees navigating the immense change and implications from COVID-19. According to Brooks, the pandemic marks, “The first time in recent history that every part of our lives has changed at once – work life, personal life, and social life.” He shared his time, knowledge and experience to give back to DHG. He became a frequent DHG guest, joining the CEO Updates, the Life at DHG Podcast and hosting a series of virtual meetings called “Moving from Surviving to Thriving.”
Brooks shared personal stories and tips to help people understand the psychological perspective of change and how to best navigate it. He explained, “With so much changing so quickly, it’s normal to feel stressed and uncertain. However, by recognizing and understanding the emotional phases you encounter during times of profound change, the better able you can cope with them.”
Prior to COVID-19, we spoke with former DHG partner Toye Payne, and she told us about her extensive volunteer work with the disaster relief organization, Samaritan’s Purse. In light of current events, we asked Toye to share how the global COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the organization and her work there.
How is COVID-19 impacting the Samaritan’s Purse?
Things are certainly quite different. And the unfortunate irony is that, at the very time people need Samaritan’s Purse the most, is when the organization is being most constrained. Samaritan’s Purse is very much an on-the-ground ministry, working face-to-face with disaster victims. So, they are limiting their relief teams to only the most essential people and most critical areas to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Still, I’m just in awe at the number of Samaritan’s Purse staff who are willing to risk their own health — and possibly their lives — serving on the front lines.
So how is Samaritan’s Purse responding?
They are especially focused on collecting and sending critical supplies to hardest hit areas. For example, Samaritan’s Purse recently sent six tractor-trailer loads of medical equipment to establish a mobile hospital in New York City. And they flew more than eight tons of badly needed supplies to the native people of Alaska.
And it’s not just COVID-19. In the midst of the pandemic, tornadoes devastated parts of Louisiana and Mississippi. Samaritan’s Purse rushed essential teams to help in those disaster areas, utilizing local volunteers to assist the victims.
How has the pandemic directly affected your volunteer work with Samaritan’s Purse?
It’s kept me from travelling to oversee the distribution of Samaritan’s Purse “shoeboxes” and to audit the international field offices. My last trip was to Panama at the end of February, just as things were really beginning to ramp up. The increase in the number of travelers wearing face masks between the time I left and when I returned, just four days later, was astounding.
How can people help?
Well, a tremendous backlog is building for the kind of aid Samaritan’s Purse provides. When things turn around, there will be a huge need for volunteers. And of course, people can always donate to the organization’s ongoing efforts to provide help and supplies for those who desperately need them.
While it certainly hasn’t been business as usual, I’m extremely proud that Samaritan’s Purse continues to do what it has always done … help hurting people around the globe.