Metro churches stepping up to help with COVID-19 vaccinations

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The announcement that more doses of the coronavirus vaccine are on their way to states is good news. It comes as churches in Missouri and Kansas are now stepping up to help with vaccinations.

Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City used its Youth and Family Life Center as a vaccination site Tuesday.

“I’m happy,” said Martin Spain, who received a vaccine. “I don’t know if you can tell right now, but I’m smiling.”

It was a sigh of relief for Spain after he got his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It was a piece of cake,” Spain said. “It literally was. I didn’t even really feel it.”

The Type 2 diabetic said a lot of pressure will soon be off his shoulders, especially because he comes in close contact with people at work.

“I’m a UPS customer counter associate there, so if you’re picking a package up or shipping a package,” Spain said. “So we deal with customers quite a bit.”

Spain was one of many people at the Morning Star Youth and Family Life Center getting the shot.

“Seeing people like the president and the mayor get it and so many people have gotten it, I said, ‘OK maybe I better change that,’” said Grace Crain, who got vaccinated.

It was a joint effort with Truman Medical Center to reach vulnerable populations, like minorities who are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.

“I want to express it’s one great thing to come to the community other than the community having to go to the hospital,” said John Miles, pastor of Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church. “Think of the thousands of lives that we will save. Thousands of lives that will not pass on to the other side.”

“It’s very exciting for us to be able to let people know we care enough to make sure that we reach people that are not be able to be reached,” said Niki Donawa, chief community relations officer at Truman Medical Center.

The state of Kansas is working to connect with faith communities as well.

The Great Plains United Methodist Church Conference is starting a pilot program with four churches in the western part of Kansas.

“We’re going to run a pilot for two weeks, and then following the two weeks we’ll take a look. We’ll see how it went and then decision will be made whether to open up more of our United Methodist churches to provide testing sites,” said Rev. Hollie Tapley, disaster response coordinator with The Great Plains United Methodist Church Conference.

If things go well, the churches could turn into vaccination sites.

“It’s important for us to do our part to keep people safe, to keep people well,” Tapley said.

Churches that are a part of this pilot program will be announced through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment in the coming days.

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