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Churches can provide powerful help in a health crisis as a source of prayer, a source of information and a source of care to different people with different needs.

AHA News: As African Americans Struggle With COVID-19 Disparities, Churches Step In

TUESDAY, April 21, 2020 (American Heart Association News) -- The coronavirus pandemic is hitting African Americans hard, early data suggest. But Sonjia B. Dickerson doesn't need a spreadsheet to tell her that.

She lost a beloved uncle to apparent COVID-related causes. A cousin succumbed to the same. Another relative is fighting the disease. And Dickerson, pastor of the Dayspring Family Church – a nondenominational, predominantly African American church in Irving, Texas – just planned her first Zoom memorial service. It was for a family that was unable to gather in person to mourn because of travel restrictions.

It's been a tough season for Dickerson and other clergy, as they try to help people struggling physically and financially, while observing restrictions to gather for the social and spiritual uplift a church can provide.

But, she said, "This is what we're called to do." And those efforts show the influence a church can have in addressing African Americans' needs during the pandemic – which include longstanding concerns that might have put them at risk.

Read the full American Heart Association News story.

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Watch the in-depth discussion above, and see our past HealthDay Nows and other videos on our YouTube channel.