Volunteers working with the Bluffton Community Soup Kitchen have been giving away food for several weeks outside Campbell Chapel AME Church. Leading the effort is Constance Martin-Witter, center, with many helpers, including Jim Gadson, left. Donations of

When the time came for Jesus to inaugurate his public ministry, he returned to his hometown synagogue of Nazareth and read a portion of a passage found in the book of Isaiah.

In similar fashion to when a new administration unfolds its first 100 day plan, Jesus unfolded the following words from the scroll of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives….”

We’ve heard a lot of bad news as of late, thanks to the global pandemic that has affected everyone. Circumstances are changing our social customs and strongly influencing our private lives. We’ve been busy sanitizing hands, wearing gloves and keeping social distance, but at the same time, something magical is happening.

Our society has made a turn for the good. It’s true that during this challenging time, the worst in some people has come out. But the reason why they are noticeable is because they are random anomalies in what has become an ocean of care and concern.

The masks that now cover the faces of so many cannot cover the good hearts of those that are rising to serve their neighbors.

Churches, synagogues and other organizations have had to double their management efforts because of the great outpouring of volunteers and resources. As a rabbi friend of mine recently told me over the phone, “It’s a problem, but it’s a good problem!” And I agree – to see so many caring for their neighbors is truly amazing.

And it’s not just the wealthy and healthy who are lending a helping hand. Many of those who are contributing to our community include our undocumented neighbors. At this time, many of them have no work and no means besides charity to cover basic necessities. Yet, in the midst of their existential poverty, many rise to the aid of the less fortunate, such as single mothers and the isolated elderly.

I’m not sure the world has become a better place, but the recent challenges have surely revealed to me that there are still a lot of caring people. The Lowcountry is filled with people who in times of need, rise up and strive to become part of the solution.

On behalf of all our regional not-for-profit organizations, thank you!

Juan Rivera is the Missions Ambassador for Church of The Cross in Bluffton.