Centinela Hospital’s Mohammad Abdelnaser accepts the donation of chargers from Pastor Douglas Nelson. Looking on are, from left, the Rev. Dr. R.A. Williams and Danny K. Tabor. (Karim Saafir Photography)

In a move to help coronavirus victims, Stay Connected Life Ministries, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and local organizations recently partnered with Best Buy to donate 200 cell phone chargers to Centinela Hospital Medical Center and Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital.

The Rev. Douglas E. Nelson, pastor of True Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles and president of Stay Connected Life Ministries, spearheaded the initiative to help patients stay in contact with family, friends and loved ones while in quarantine.

Nelson said he experienced being disconnected first hand when an 81-year-old church member was quarantined after contracting the virus. “I received a call from one of my members who had just been checked in to the hospital with the virus,” Nelson recalled.  “We were praying and she explained to me she was in the hospital without her Bible and as we were praying, the phone died.

“After a week of calling her and trying to connect, I finally heard back from her.  She had been released from the hospital and was sent home to finish up her quarantine.  She said she did not have a charger and as a result had no way to stay in touch with anyone,” he said.

The experience made the pastor realize that there was a need that no one was addressing or even considering.  So, Nelson called on 20 pastors and fraternity leaders, from Ohio to Texas to Arizona and throughout Southern California, and they agreed with him that this was an important issue to work on together.

Among the national and statewide ministries collaborating with Stay Connected Life Ministries were WHW Ministries, Inc., the California Southern Baptist Convention, the Western Baptist State Convention, and the National American Mission Board.

Pastor Gregory Perkins of The View Church and a leader in the California Southern Baptist Convention said, “We are pleased to join Pastor Nelson and Stay Connected Life Ministries in this effort. I also had a member contract COVID-19 and Pastor Nelson’s counsel and experience helped me to advise my member on how to survive and remain connected to me and her family.”

Mohammad Abdelnaser, interim CEO of Centinela Hospital Medical Center, said, “While these items are small, this is a very big donation for us because they will be used long after COVID-19 has passed.

“And the impact will reverberate because there is not a time in the lives of our patients where they don’t desire to be connected to their loved ones. We are so pleased to receive this donation,” he added.

Nelson encouraged people that are interested in donating to visit the website at stayconnectedlife.com. “With so many African Americans and Latinos being so disproportionately affected by this virus, it is paramount that our friends and family members don’t die or suffer alone, but are connected to us,” he insisted.