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Ask Chuck: How to encourage someone affected by COVID-19

Ask Chuck: How to encourage someone affected by COVID-19

Dear Chuck,

(Courtesy of Christian Economic Forum)

Many we know have been hurt financially due to the coronavirus shelter-in policies. What should I know to encourage others as they try to survive this?

Trying to Help My Neighbor

Dear Trying to Help,

The coronavirus has created a lot of uncertainty in every sector of the population. I cannot address them all, but here I will address some segments that you can be prepared to help.

Students and Graduates

Our students and soon-to-be-graduates have seen internships and fellowships vanish before their eyes. Some positions have changed to work-from-home scenarios. Summer employment may be limited but there will be opportunities for those who are creative, flexible and patient. Some can continue their education this summer or seek certification in skills for future work.

“The coronavirus could change where students go to college, if they go at all,” one report states. Moody’s Investors Service predicts that college enrollment will drop next year because of the coronavirus. The impact of that will affect several sectors of the economy. It is possible that more students will stay home, attend community college, or postpone college. Trade schools may become more and more appealing.

How You Can Help Them

If your children or grandchildren are looking for a summer job, an internship or just a way to get volunteer experience this summer, take the time to interview them to find out what they hope to find. Once you have something specific, seek out opportunities within your network to help them succeed.

If all else fails, consider what I have done in the past. Call a friend and ask them to interview your loved one and give them a part time job or internship. Privately and confidentially offer to pay for their salary if hired. This will help the company and your child/grandchild alike. While it may cost you more than you wanted to pay, you have invested in their much needed development for the future. In my case, I have opened doors for interviews this way; my sons were hired but I never paid for their salary since the employer was very happy with their work.

Older Workers

There are 54 million U.S. workers aged 50-plus. According to AARP’s Public Policy Institute, 51% of Americans over 50 have no emergency savings. Laid-off older workers who are less educated or skilled, with no experience in telework, may find it difficult to find jobs soon reports Chris Farrell at MarketWatch.com

The Urban Institute’s Age Disparities in Unemployment and Reemployment During the Great Recession and Recovery said that half of people age 25 to 34 who lost their jobs during the last recession were reemployed within six months, while it took more than nine months, on average, for the unemployed ages 51 to 60 to get hired.

How You Can Help Them

When counseling those over 50, encourage them to stay active, improve their skills, and highly connect with their network. Relationship-based referrals remain the very best way to find employment. This group will benefit from online training in areas where they have existing skills or interest. I recommend training in technology for possible work-from-home opportunities or sectors that are overworked during the crisis: healthcare, logistics, grocery stores.

Single Moms

This segment of society has faced extremely difficult days during the weeks of coronavirus. The single mother knows she cannot get sick because she has children depending on her. She needs her income to pay the bills, feed and diaper children and try to save for their future. Many are still waiting for the arrival of stimulus checks. If she is working from home, she may also be homeschooling and/or taking care of infants or toddlers.

There are more than 15 million single moms in America today raising more than 22 million of our nation’s youth. Single moms include highly educated women, those without a high school degree, widows, and those who fled abusive relationships. Many did not choose to raise children on their own. In addition to the threat of losing work, the coronavirus may disrupt child support payments. Many whose families helped with child care are now social distancing adding more stress to these homes. One single mother said, “To go a month or more without a paycheck is terrifying.”

How You Can Help Them

Recognize the stress they are already experiencing. Suggest that they are open and transparent with their employer. Recommend that they seek help from their employer with flexible hours, support for child care or a raise. Offer to help them with simple tasks like grocery shopping or running errands so they can rest. If they need a budget coach, suggest they contact Crown for help.

Always Read to Serve

Many other groups exist that are being affected. Those facing a crisis of this proportion need guidance, patience, and hope. Let’s join together to pray for wisdom and discernment to help those God puts in our sphere of influence.

This is an opportunity for the body of Christ to serve in love. Those who have not been financially impacted should pray for discernment in helping the vulnerable. The church must educate the body in the Biblical principles of stewarding time and money as well as properly viewing work as a means to worship the Lord.

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Money Problems, Marriage Solutions. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.

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