By Gabriel Stovall
Wearing a blue facemask and orange and black work gloves, Eli Schewel helped pack the back of a black pickup truck with boxes containing 210 Send Relief care packages set to go to healthcare workers at two New York City hospitals last week.
He didn’t look like someone who was anxious about navigating the city that’s seen more COVID-19 cases and deaths than any other single city on the globe. In fact, despite the mask covering his lips, you could still tell there was a smile there, showing that his faith was strong enough to override any fears.
“I’m doing this because I can, and because the best line of protection is your neighbors,” Schewel said.
A fellow volunteer agreed.
“A virus doesn’t mean that people don’t have needs,” he said. “It means that they have more needs.”
In New Orleans, Shawn Powers, CEO of Baptist Community Health Services, smiled when he opened up a care package bag and saw a nice note written to one of the healthcare workers who would soon receive it. BCHS sets up fully functioning clinics that serve medically underserved areas of the city. Powers calls his doctors, nurses, practitioners and staff “medical missionaries.”
“From our board to our senior team, all the way down to our patient care, we’re driven with the mission to advance the kingdom of God through healthcare as a platform,” Powers said. “We’re all just temporary citizens in this world, but eternal citizens of heaven. So, while we’re here, we want to pray and serve the city in such a way that they can see evidence of Christ in us.”
Powers recently accompanied Send Relief missionaries, Jeremy Simmons and Kay Bennett, along with Kayleigh White who works on Bennett’s team, as they distributed 920 care packages to several New Orleans-area hospitals.
The appreciation of healthcare workers was seen at each stop.
That same gratitude was also felt in metro Atlanta, where 750 care packages were distributed to area hospitals.
Destiny Green, left, and Michelle Spears of Wellstar Cobb Hospital in Austell, Georgia are overjoyed after receiving Send Relief care packages. (Send Relief Photo)
Michelle Spears, an employee at Wellstar Cobb Hospital in Austell, Georgia, was overjoyed to the point where she could hardly get the words, “thank you” out of her mouth before her eyes began welling up with tears. Her gratitude wasn’t just for herself, but for the dozens of co-workers who also received care packages.
“Words do not even begin to describe how thankful our teams were when they received the care kits,” Spears said. It’s so amazing to see how much people are thinking of us and caring for us in such a tough time.”
Miranda Black, supervisor at Wellstar’s Laundry facility, also in Austell, echoed Spears’ sentiments.
“This is amazing,” she said. “You just have no idea how much this means to me and my staff. It’s this kind of love that this world needs right now.”
Thousands of Send Relief care packages have already been distributed. The packages were assembled by Send Relief volunteers in Denver, Ashland, Kentucky, and Alpharetta, Georgia.