While the bulk of the work conducted on the ground happens within the confines of the Vapor Ministries’ centers, the work does not stop at the front gates. There is a concerted effort to engage with the local communities outside of the centers in constructive ways – to complement the activities within the centers with community outreach projects outside of them.
Prior to the onset of COVID-19, the majority of the outreach work was reactive to the needs brought to the centers by members of the local communities. Needs were identified, be they physical, economic or spiritual, and addressed via the appropriate channels. In addition, one weekend per soccer league season was used as a service weekend, as teams from the soccer leagues would participate in a community outreach or beautification project.
As COVID-19 spread across the globe and significantly altered the way life was conducted, the Vapor Ministries’ centers and staff seized the opportunity to become more involved in their local communities, not less. In the midst of the pandemic, center staff responded by going into their local communities multiple times per week, providing food baskets, masks, soap, health flyers related to disease prevention as well as other needed items. In the midst of unforeseeable circumstances, center staff and activities pivoted to address the needs around them in the most effective and efficient methods possible.
Each center responded to the specific needs of their local community. In Kawangware, for example, a need for significantly more clean water than normal was identified in the surrounding slums, for sanitation purposes. So, center staff paid to rent multiple trucks, filled them with clean water, and drove them deep into the slums to provide for those in need.
As the centers now move into a post-emergency response COVID world, there will continue to be adjustments made as to how the centers handle community outreach projects. Throughout the pandemic, center staff saw opportunities for deeper community engagement. As a result, each center will now spend three weeks – one week during each league season and one week during the offseason – working in the respective communities. Centers will continue to work with local church partners to identify specific outreach projects that can be completed.