Charissa Koh

Charissa is a WORLD reporter who often writes about poverty fighting and prison reform, including profiling ministries in the annual Hope Awards for Effective Compassion competition. She is also a part of WORLD's investigative unit, the Caleb Team. Charissa resides with her husband, Josh, in Austin, Texas. Follow her on Twitter @CharissaKoh.

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Staying sober in a pandemic

Health | The coronavirus outbreak creates challenges for recovering addicts and the ministries that serve them
by Charissa Koh
Posted 5/07/20, 03:45 pm

Danielle York, a 34-year-old from Denver, is a recovering alcoholic. She remembers drinking “from the time I woke up until I went to bed.” But the alcohol made her sick, so York tried to change: She completed several rehab programs but always slipped into old habits when she returned to her former environment and friends. Eventually the state took her two children. 

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Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin

Where charity and COVID-19 abide

Compassion | Giving holds steady, but nonprofit groups fear the worst is yet to come
by Charissa Koh
Posted 5/06/20, 05:07 pm

At the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, the demand for free meals has increased by 40 to 50 percent since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. “We had to get creative,” said mission CEO Andy Bales.

He began asking local restaurants for help. One agreed to provide pizzas three to four times a week. Other contributions came from sub and hamburger chains, a bakery, and a barbecue restaurant. “We are adapting to this new world we live in,” Bales said.

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Soup kitchen in the hot zone

Compassion | A church in New York City is learning how to minister to the homeless and addicted from a distance
by Charissa Koh
Posted 5/01/20, 04:50 pm

One Sunday morning in late March, 25 homeless people lined up outside Recovery House of Worship in Brooklyn, New York City. The week before, Pastor Edwin Colon told a group of homeless people: “Hey, guys, don’t come back. We love you, we want to serve you, but it’s not safe.”

He knew it didn’t matter: “We have a 20-year reputation of providing help, so they’re going to come.” When they do, Colon shares a brief gospel message with them, and the group sings a hymn. Then each homeless person gets a chicken sandwich that Chick-fil-A donated.

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