In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, CMBC wanted to do something to reach out to the hospital caring for patients with the virus and other medical needs.
“We wanted to do something, but not what everyone else was doing. We wanted to make a difference,” said Pastor Ashley Olinger.
More than goodie bags
Olinger said he and a deacon, who is also a nurse, sat in the driveway and concocted a plan.
“We wanted to do an act of kindness. We thought about it, we prayed about it and one of the first conversations was to talk to the administrators. They have 300 employees on the staff for each of the two shifts. We started making 600 goodie bags and delivering them twice every Thursday. We’ve been doing that every Thursday since then. They look forward to them. They can’t wait to read what is on them,” Olinger said.
The goodies consisted of individually wrapped snacks like cookies, chips, muffins or a bag of nuts. The church members put funny stickers on the goodies.
Olinger said at first only he and his wife distributed the goodies, to avoid exposure to the virus. Now, others in the church help deliver them.
The return blessings came Nov. 4, when nine members of the church leadership were invited to a meal at the hospital hosted by the administration and senior staff members.
“We built quite a relationship with them. We met every executive at the hospital, and they came out and thanked us for what we’re doing. At the dinner, it was the best steak I’ve ever eaten with appetizers and hors d’oeuvres, all done in house,” Olinger said.
In addition to the continuing snacks, CMBC now provides clothes for patients who, for whatever reason, find themselves without clothes when it is time to check out. They also donated 40 turkeys that the church has used to help the needy in the community.
‘No intention of stopping’
Not only did the senior staff of Centerpoint host a dinner of thanks, but Brian Murray, director of Centerpoint Business Development, also has spoken in both morning services, expressing the hospital’s gratitude and the impact of the church’s outreach efforts. Olinger noted an emergency room nurse brought donuts for the church one Sunday.
“At this point, we have no intention of stopping the goodies. We’ll see where God leads,” he said. “I’m happy to do it. It’s very much missional. We’ll continue as long as they let us do it. It’s pretty cool to see what God does when the staff engage with us beyond the snacks.”