Detroit pastor encourages Black community to get COVID vaccine, offers help to those in need

Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ helps people through donations

Detroit pastor works to help community get through the pandemic

DETROIT – The coronavirus pandemic has rocked the Black and brown communities and continues to do so.

A church on Detroit’s west side is trying to help those affected by the pandemic by any means necessary.

Bishop J. Drew Sheard is a pastor at the Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ.

READ: Feds give Michigan $8.3 million for COVID vaccine distribution support

“My definition of ministry is meeting the needs of people,” Sheard said.

Sheard said for years his church has been meeting the needs of the people.

“Once you make an assessment of what the needs of people are, you try to do something to help people and when you do that, that’s real ministry,” Sheard said.

The church is helping people in Detroit through food and money donations.

“We give groceries away every third Saturday of the month. We were able to bless 500 people in the community with money,” Sheard said.

The church also opened its doors for COVID-19 testing.

“I think we have three settings where the community could come and get tested for COVID-19. We did one with the DMC and one with Wayne State University,” Sheard said.

READ: 211 lines tied up after MDHHS recommends calling for vaccine help

Sheard has been personally impacted by COVID-19.

“Of course it affected my family in a tremendous way and so I just don’t want, if it was as possible, I don’t want anybody to feel the pain that I felt,” Sheard said.

Sheard lost his mother to coronavirus over the summer.

“Just totally devastated. I love my mom. You know your parents can’t live forever, but you just don’t expect them to exit from something like this. She and my father went into the hospital, on the same day and they both tested positive, my father went all the way down to 138 pounds,” Sheard said.

Sheard said his father beat coronavirus, but losing his mother was tough.

“The loss of my mother, was absolutely devastating. You don’t get over that,” Sheard said.

Sheard and his wife, famous gospel singer Karen Clark Sheard, are uring people -- especially in the Black community -- to get the COVID vaccine when they are able.

“My wife and I have received our first vaccination. I’m pro for getting the vaccination. Now, we’re trying to become a site where they can receive the vaccination. I’m encouraging people, based on the medical science field, to get the vaccination. Let’s try to get rid of COVID out of our communities, especially out of the Black community,” Sheard said.

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About the Author:

Larry Spruill Jr. joined the Local 4 News team in January 2018. Prior, he worked at WJAX in Jacksonville, Florida. Larry grew up as a military kid because his father is a retired Chief of the United States Air Force.