(Camden, NJ) – Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr and Freeholder Jonathan Young joined Chief Joe Wysocki, Lieutenant Zsakhiem James and Bishop E.M. Barron yesterday, May 14, to hand out masks to clergy throughout the city and make a special donation to the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium. Visiting 10 different sites today the leadership team met with members of the city’s faith-based community providing new tools to fight the virus for each respective congregation.
Cappelli talked about the need to have a dialogue with churches throughout the city and county.
“Throughout this pandemic our tools have been very limited to stop the spread of COVID-19. Mitigation initiatives revolve around social distancing and wearing masks to eliminate transmission,” Cappelli said. “The clergy and their bully pulpit are essential for us to get the message out to parishioners and congregants of all faiths to social distance. From Sister Bonnie at the St. Joe’s Neighborhood Center to Pastor Watson at First Nazreen, clergy are vital to us lifting up the community and breaking the back of the virus.”
At the First Nazreen Baptist Church, Pastor Dhyiem Watson, was hosting the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium providing testing to residents and congregants. A donation of masks from the Freeholders and CCPD was accepted by Dr. Ala Stanford on behalf of the organization.
“Getting the masks into hands of medical practitioners was ideal and added bonus today,” Young said. “The combination of ministries, social service advocates and clergy using this important equipment we provided today will be a net benefit to the city and the county.”
Other churches receiving equipment for their congregation were:
- Pastor Adam Parker at Antioch Baptist Church
- Saki Wilcox at Dunamis Life Church
- Sister Bonnie McMenamin at the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center
- Pastor Brian Deshields at Calvary Baptist Tabernacle
- Pastor Levi Combs at First Refuge Baptist Church
- Minister Wasim Muhammad at Muhammad’s Temple #20
- Bill and Brenda Antinore at Seeds of Hope Ministries
- Pastor Burt Wright at St. Johns Church Ministries
- Bishop E.M. Barron at Higher Ground Church of God in Christ
Chief Wysocki has been holding weekly Zoom meetings with the city’s clergy, continuing a strong dialogue with more than 30 church leaders.
“The faith-based community has been a tremendous partner for our agency as we continue to fight this pandemic,” Wysocki said. “I want to thank them for their thoughtful insight and for their invaluable perspective for us to ensure the safety of the community. We will continue this important dialogue and try to find more ways to help moving forward.”
A total of 1,000 masks were provided throughout the day to increase the strength of the ongoing public health campaign throughout the city and the county. The county Department of Health mobile clinic will remain stationed in Yorkship Square tomorrow in the city’s Fairview neighborhood.