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Columbia Church hosts brunch vaccine clinic for the homeless

COVID is not stopping churches in the mission of feeding the homeless.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Washington Street United Methodist Church came up with a creative way to feed people in need and make sure they got their COVID-19 vaccine.

"We serve them as if they were at a restaurant," Washington Street's Senior Pastor Patricia Parrish. "We bring food and drink to them and sit down with them so we can build a relationship with folks."

It's an initiative Washington Street United Methodist church members say they used to do frequently before COVID. For the second time during the pandemic, volunteers opened their place of worship to help feed people in need.

"Building relationships is an essential way to help people move from homelessness or poverty to acceptance and inclusion," expressed Parrish.

This particular event also included DHEC offering 100 Moderna shots. The senior pastor says their 'Brunch on the Grounds' event allows volunteers to connect with the people they are serving.

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"One of the stories that stuck out to me was one of my fellow clergy person's son came here to eat lunch with us," explained Parrish. "I told him that I was the minister, and he told me who his dad was. I immediately called his father to let him know where he was. We established a connection so I could let him know if heard anything else from his son."

"Often, you do hear compelling stories about hardships in terms of having jobs, then losing them," said Columbia resident Andrea McAtee. "I usually come away with this shared sense of fellowship that we are all children of God, and we all have similar experiences, and we can all support each other."

McAtee volunteered with her daughter Lucy. She says hearing different stories when volunteering reminds them how everybody is the same no matter what their situation might be.

"It reminds me of how much we have in common, even with people we might not have a conversation with regularly," said McAtee.

DHEC will return to the church on May 23rd to offer the second round of shots.

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