Friendship Southern Baptist Church in Concord, N.C., is serving those on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 by sending care packages to emergency departments at four nearby hospitals where some of their own serve as nurses.
Because some medical centers do not allow drop-offs, nurses from Friendship plan to take the packages to work with them. This allows hospital staff to have a point of contact with the church, Friendship’s lead pastor Jesse Watkins told the Biblical Recorder in a phone interview March 20.
“Our purpose is to encourage people and to serve people as the church,” Watkins said. “But we do want to connect that with someone who is part of our church community that can be a source of spiritual encouragement to the rest of the people there.”
Watkins, whose wife and sister are nurses, said he was especially sensitive to the challenges health care providers are facing. Since posting on Facebook asking medical personnel about their most urgent needs, the church has received donations from members and non-members alike.
The funds allowed them to assemble packages that include snacks, coffee, toiletries and devotionals. The church was also able to purchase about 200 N95 masks to donate. Watkins said nurses also asked for hand lotion because the increased hand washing and sanitizing have made their skin dry. Nurses told him that snacks were more helpful than gift cards because they don’t have time to take lunch breaks or order food.
Watkins told the Recorder he has focused not only on staying connected with church members but finding ways to reach others outside the church during a time of crisis.
“We also need to be thinking, ‘How can we minister to those not in our church who are also fearful?’” he said. “They don’t have the hope we do. So our prayer is that people working in the ER or wherever will see that there’s some people that love them and are praying for them.”
Friendship also broadcasts daily children’s devotions on Facebook.
“We want to engage the children on a daily basis,” he said. The devotions are streamed online Monday to Friday at 1:30 p.m.