Paul instructed his followers to value others above themselves. He told them to have the mindset of Jesus in how they treated one another (Phil. 2:3-5). And we remember that it was Jesus who washed his disciples’ feet in John chapter 13. He positioned himself as a servant leader to everyone around him, demonstrating that honoring God means sharing love and compassion with others.
This is the example that Berean High School students followed during this spring’s community service project.
“All the credit has to go to Micah,” says Symone Mimms, senior class president. She is talking about Micah San Andreas, a BCHS junior who volunteers at John Muir Health in Walnut Creek. Micah leads the student community service committee. Through her experience and connections at John Muir Health, Micah could see that COVID had taken its toll on healthcare workers there. So she and her student government peers decided to organize a service project to honor and appreciate the staff at John Muir.
The students set up a donation platform and invited Berean families and the student body to donate items for care packages that would be delivered to hospital workers.
“People donated snacks like popcorn, M&M’s, crackers, and gummy snacks for our baskets,” says Mimms. The baskets also included some beauty and care products and notes of encouragement.
On packing day, Mimms remembers standing around these piles of donations with a certain satisfaction of knowing that they were honoring God by serving their community.
Healthcare workers shouldered a great burden since the pandemic began last year. Nurses, doctors, and support staff have made sacrifices to manage the increased work expectations placed on them in a work environment that they had little control over. Some chose to isolate themselves at home, and some even moved into alternate housing to avoid bringing the virus home to their families.
The Lancet reported that healthcare professionals are at higher risk for anxiety, depression, insomnia, burnout, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While they took on longer shifts taking care of so many seriously ill patients, they also had to continue meeting their families’ needs – childcare, schooling, and caring for aging parents. These workers and many other frontline workers deserve our compassion and gratitude. The BCHS community recognized this and delivered.
Stacy Appel, the Volunteer Services Coordinator at John Muir Medical Center, was blown away by the generosity of the BCHS community.
“I’d envisioned a couple of bags of snacks at most,” she wrote in an email to the student government. “You can imagine my amazement when an entire van-load of treats arrived.”
Appel said that while the staff appreciated the “snack-a-palooza” in their break rooms, they were especially touched by the message behind the treats – “…that you honor and care about our staff goes a long, long way,” she wrote.
Paul's message to the early church in Philipi is as important to the church today as it was then. He told them to value others above themselves, to put other people's interests ahead of their own. In recognizing the hard work and sacrifices that healthcare workers have made during the pandemic, the BCHS community is making good on that promise.