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COVID-19 What you need to know!

Posted on March 12, 2020 in General Ministry | 0 comments

COVID-19 What you need to know!

Information about the new coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading far faster than the virus itself. Last week the state health department announced the first positive test results for COVID-19 in Texas – while these cases are travel related, we absolutely need to be vigilant to keep our communities safe as this situation continues to quickly evolve.

The Texas public health system is working hard to keep Texans as safe and protected from COVID-19 as possible. Today we want to assure you we too are making plans to help keep our workplace and communities safe.

How to Protect Yourself and Others

Currently there is no vaccine for COVID-19, so prevention is even more critical. Reducing spread as quickly as possible will help protect our most vulnerable populations, such as seniors and those with chronic medical conditions. You can prevent the spread of coronavirus, and also the flu, by taking these steps:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom. Also wash them before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. 
    • If there’s no soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch often with a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

People who are well do not need to wear masks at home or in public. 

What to Do If You Feel Sick

Patients diagnosed with COVID-19 report mild to severe respiratory illness. 

Symptoms of COVID -19 may show up 2-14 days after exposure and may include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

General Population: If you are in generally good health and have a mild illness, stay home and take care of yourself like you would for the flu. If symptoms worsen, call your doctor.

At-Risk Populations: If you are 65 years or older and/or have other medical problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer – and have fever or symptoms – call your doctor. If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow your physician’s instructions or refer to CDC guidance for how to take care of yourself at home.Follow CDC instructions for how to take care of yourself at home.

Your doctor will help make the decision whether you should get tested for coronavirus. Some public health labs in Texas are now testing and local or regional health departments must approve each test. 

Travel Updates

If you plan to take any trips soon  in or outside the U.S. — please always check the CDC website for guidance, and plan accordingly. The guidance is changing almost daily.

Working with the Public 

Many of us work with the public and we want to provide information and resources that can help you. Please use the CDC and Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) coronavirus webpages as reliable sources of information. Here you will also find helpful tips specific to the workplace, like keeping commonly used surfaces such as doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks, wiped down by employees before each use.

Facemask Use
It’s important facemasks and other personal protective equipment are available for healthcare providers. People who are well do not need to wear a mask in public so we discourage “stocking up” on facemasks. If you are a health worker or you care for someone in close settings (such as at home or in a health-care facility), you should wear a facemask. Again, you do not need to wear a mask if you are well. 

Preparing Households 

The CDC has published a guide for how to prepare households for a potential outbreak. It includes a list of household cleaners that work to disinfect surfaces. 

Texas Efforts

DSHS is monitoring the Texas situation all day, seven days a week. They are working closely with emergency response agencies, local health departments and the CDC. We are in communication with DSHS and will keep you informed as this situation continues. Please view a message from DSHS Commissioner Dr. Hellerstedt on steps everyone can take right now to prevent COVID-19 and follow @TexasDSHS on social media for real-time updates. Visit DSHSonline at dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.

Please use and share this information with others to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Thank you for doing your part to keep yourself, your colleagues, your families and your communities safe. 

Hand Up Network stepping in the gap for others.

Posted on December 11, 2019 in General Ministry | 0 comments

Hand Up Network stepping in the gap for others.

Hand Up Network has been working diligently to help those going through a difficult season in life.  Our Programs provide a foundation and support system to help those that are serious about getting into a better position in life.  This work is not easy, in fact it is really hard.  We must seek out people that are willing to donate their time and resources to help us do this work as it cannot be done by a small staff by itself.  Fortunately, word is starting to finally get out to the public about the life-changing work that is being done.  It couldn’t happen at a better time as there are so many seeking our help!

Which brings us to a sweet family that we were honored to serve just this week.  Irene Moore has dedicated her life to her granddaughter Chrisdea and she and her husband raised her from an early age. Chrisdea has always been a great kid, never gotten into any trouble and was always a bright light to those that she was able to meet. Chrisdea grew up in Tyler, attended public schools, and as she said was always vocal in support of her Moore Mustangs and John Tyler Lions, CUJO!  She attended Tyler Junior College and could regularly be seen being the loudest of the bunch in the stands.

As time passed, Chrisdea had always struggled with her weight and it progressed to become a significant issue.   Though the weight issue slowed her down some, she was still able  to live life to its fullest.  Unfortunately life doesn’t slow down and over time, Chrisdea became the caregiver to her precious Grandparents who had sacrificed everything for her growing up.  She had been blessed and wanted to do all she could to give back to them all the love that they had given her throughout her life.  Then life through another challenge to this family…Chrisdea had a major medical issue suddenly occur and her life was suddenly at risk.  She was rushed to the hospital and spent the next 3 months in ICU in a coma.  They determined that Chrisdea’s colon had ruptured and her chance at life would be dependent on her fighting off infection, getting stable, and losing weight.  She is currently bedridden, and the goal is to get in position where she can take advantage of bariatric surgery that could help her to win the battle and get back to living her life.  This is easier said than done and it has caused significant challenges for the family.  A family that also suffered another tragedy when Chrisdea’s Grandfather passed away suddenly.

Today we find Chrisdea and Irene continuing the fight to get Chrisdea back to good health.  Irene has had her own health challenges and utilizes a walker to help her get around.  They don’t have time to be sad and anyone that comes to visit will be met with a hearty welcome and unfiltered love.  Chrisdea has made some major steps towards losing the weight necessary for surgery, but doing this while confined to bed makes it even harder to accomplish.  She must still get to her medical appointments and this is where Hand Up Network comes into the picture.

The City of Tyler Fire Department truly has developed a love for the Moore’s and they have been called many times to help Chrisdea leave her home to make her medical appointments. Unfortunately, the loss of Irene’s husband, and his retirement benefits, has made the challenge even more difficult. The Porch surrounding their home and handicap ramp has been declared dangerous and not able to be used. The Fire Department and EMS personnel have had to try to carry Chrisdea around the house due to not having access to these vital areas. The Moore’s had reached out to many non-profits, churches, organizations, etc. and were not able to help for a variety of reasons. Tyler Assistant Fire Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator, Michael Frost reached out to the Hand Up Network. He explained the situation and asked if we could help the Moore’s out. Yes we could! On December 9, 2019, a Hand Up Network Response Team (HURTeam) arrived early and began to stabilize the Moore’s porch and handicap ramp. Upon hearing about this from Chrisdea, Irene Moore broke into tears! “Praise God!” she said.

We would like to tell you that situations like the Moore’s is rare, but there are hundreds of people just like this struggling to get by and needing a “Hand Up” and support system to get back on their feet.  Many have all but lost hope, while others just have resolved to the fact that no one cares and they just live day to day.  This is a horrible way to go through life and if they know that someone is there to help them along the way, their outlook on life can change in an instant.  That is what we do at Hand Up Network.  Every life journey is unique and thus our Programs are flexible and utilize the expertise of our team and also our Network Partners.  We do not replicate services and we have signed agreements with our Network Partners to ensure that anyone enrolled in our Programs will get the specific help they need, when they need it.  It’s also how we hold each other accountable.  You must be who you say you are.  It is our mantra and we are honored to serve!

Helping Those in Need in your Community

Posted on April 4, 2019 in General Ministry | 0 comments

Helping Those in Need in your Community
Everyone Needs a Hand Up, Some Need it Now!

The Hand Up Network has been launched to bring more attention and focus to the people in your community. There is a tendency for people to get caught up in their daily lives and not even notice that there are people among them that are struggling to survive. If their issues don’t affect your world, its easy to see why you might drive right past and never even know that there is someone’s child, brother, parent, etc. that is seeking hope.

No one likes to talk about tough subjects, but people in need can change their circumstance and have a positive impact on their community. The struggle for most is to know how to get out and who can provide the support necessary to get there. It’s not a quick fix and certainly just giving short term help is just a bandage on a much larger wound. The Hand Up Network is about addressing the wound and seeking to eliminate what is keeping that person from getting back on their feet. Many of the stories are difficult to hear, but one thing is certain, they did not want to be where they are today!

The Issues

I had a great discussion this past weekend with a Hand Up Volunteer. His question was about the impression that most of the issues of those we are trying to help started due to substance abuse. My answer surprised him. I said I thought the number would be around “20%”. Now there are a lot more people that are now dealing with substance abuse, but the question was how did their current situation start. Most were led to substance abuse due to something else that happened in their lives. When difficult times start to happen, people lose hope. If they don’t have someone to lean on during times of stress, etc. they view various substances as a way to numb the hurt. Let that sink in, and you will begin to understand the journey that many must take to get back on their feet.

The Hand Up Network is intentional on our efforts to provide a path for those that want to make a change in the course of their lives. Success does not happen unless they are serious and make a personal commitment to want to get out. That commitment is not just a statement, but a lifestyle change. We are not here to provide a “Hand Out” and if that is the course they choose, they will find a short presence in our programs. Welfare programs have their place, but for the most part they are just a bandage on the wound. The wound is our focus, the journey is a marathon, and if you are willing to make a serious commitment to get out, we are here.

Volunteer and Donate

We need Resources and Volunteers to make all of this happen. Please take a moment to go fill out our Volunteer Application. That gets the process started. We will work with you to optimize your gifts in the service for others. We are intentional to make sure that every single Volunteer is optimized. You will not just show up and stand around while we find something for you to do. You are a vital part of the process and will be inserted as such. Click here to Donate or Fill out the Volunteer Application.

Everyone Needs a Hand Up, Some need it NOW!

Sam Smith is the CEO of the Hand Up Network. He has spent decades leading International Ministries and Non-Profits to record results for operations and service.   Sam shares his thoughts and passions at OptimizingMinistry.com

Introducing Hand Up Network!

Posted on March 29, 2019 in General Ministry | 0 comments

Introducing Hand Up Network!
Hand Up Network

We are thrilled to introduce you all to the Hand Up Network. Our passion has always been to serve the poorest of the poor, regardless of their location and challenges. It has led use all over world and we have seen things that can never be erased from our memory. We have also gained tremendous knowledge and experience into how to focus on the real problem and not try to place a bandage on a much larger wound. We know we must be intentional in focus and have programs that deal with the total person in order to achieve lasting success. Now with the launch of the Hand Up Network, we are bringing this expertise back into our own Communities.

The Opportunity

The challenges of life are not unique to any one part of the world, but people sometimes think significant hardship exists somewhere else and certainly not in their own backyard.  Over the last couple of decades, our team has worked to lead international ministries/non-profits that address these types of needs in the developing world with significant success.  This work was important and needed, but we began to also notice similar issues in our own communities.  People right around the corner were also struggling to survive.  These people were our neighbors and suffered from the very same challenges we were addressing elsewhere. We began to develop various projects in a few areas in the United States and quickly realized that the same focus and expertise we used internationally would also help to address the challenges here.  It’s time to help the people in our own communities and ensure that they had the same programs and opportunities to help them, help themselves.  Enter the Hand Up Network!

The Hand Up Network provides a “Hand Up” and avoids the traditional response of a “Hand Out”.  We focus our efforts on developing programs to encourage, equip and empower those who want, and are willing, to change their circumstances. These people need a “Hand Up” and an opportunity to overcome a tough season of life. We acknowledge that this is a marathon, not a sprint and there is no quick solution to any situation.  Each person will have a unique journey and we are intentional to build a foundation that helps to establish abilities and good habits that provide for long-term success. 

Engage, Volunteer, or Donate

We will be updating Programs regularly and our Dynamic Website will be replacing the current version in the near future. We are soliciting Volunteers for Hand Up Response Teams (HURTeams) for Community Outreach, Community Response, and Disaster Response. If you want to volunteer and help in your own community, we have a position for you…..NOW!

We have so much to share and in the days ahead we will start sharing the various Programs with everyone via our Social Media and Website. You can find the Hand Up Network or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. (@HandUpNet)

Encourage your Church, Civic Group, Friends, etc. to join the Hand Up Network.

Everyone needs a Hand Up, Some Need it Now!