Within the New York Conference’s territory, there are more than one dozen churches involved in assisting its parishioners, as well as friends from its communities and neighboring institutions in the midst of the worldwide crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to the combined effort of the conference administrators, volunteer department leaders, pastors, elders, Adventist Community Services (ACS) coordinators, among others, many people have been the recipients of food and other supplies to withstand the crisis.
Anthony Ponterio, Jr., Natural Bridge church senior pastor, in northern New York, says that in the midst of the current situation, the church has distributed a “total of 533 meals to families in the community.” This was a local initiative that started as a meal program for kids out of school and eventually evolved into helping families in need from the community. “We bag everything for the families to come and put it in their cars as they stop in the church’s parking lot,” Ponterio said.
Other pastors, including John Livergood and Josue Nico of central New York, as well as Reynolds Rodríguez and Martin Zelaya of western New York, lead churches who have been involved in community service initiatives during the pandemic. There are many other individuals who have been involved in these initiatives and Judi Eells, ACS coordinator for the conference, has been a great contributor and support to the churches in the process.
Miguel Crespo, New York Conference president, is fully involved in the community service initiatives by coordinating efforts between the churches and the conference. This time of great necessity has inspired the churches to work for those families who do not have much.
—Communication staff, New York Conference