Hospital honors church for service during pandemic

INDEPENDENCE – Sometimes the “pay it forward” brings blessings in return.

This could sum up the relationship between Country Meadows Baptist Church (CMBC) and Centerpoint Hospital.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CMBC wanted to do something to reach out to the hospital that is 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.

Olinger said he and a deacon, who is also a nurse, sat in the aisle and concocted the donation plan.

“We wanted to do an act of kindness. We thought about it, we prayed about it, and one of the first conversations was talking to the trustees. They have 300 employees on staff for each of the two shifts. We have started making 600 gift bags and delivering them twice every Thursday. Since then, we do it every Thursday. They are impatiently awaiting them. They can’t wait to read what’s on them, ”Olinger said.

The treats consisted of individually wrapped snacks like cookies, chips, muffins, or a bag of nuts. Church members put funny stickers on the gifts.

Olinger said at first that he and his wife distributed the treats, to avoid exposure to the virus. Now, others in the church are helping deliver them.

Returning blessings came on November 4, when nine of the church leaders were invited to a hospital meal hosted by administration and senior staff.

“We have built a real relationship with them. We met all the executives of the hospital and came out and thanked us for what we’re doing. At dinner it was the best steak I have ever had with appetizers and appetizers, all homemade, ”said Olinger.

In addition to the ongoing snacks, CMBC now provides clothing to patients who for some reason find themselves without clothing upon discharge. They also donated 40 turkeys that the church will use to help the needy in the community.

“Not only did senior Centerpoint executives have a thank-you dinner, but not too long ago Brian Murray, Centerpoint Business Development Manager, spoke on both morning services, expressing gratitude for hospital and sharing the impact of our kindness, ”Olinger said, adding that on Sunday an emergency room nurse brought donuts for the church.

“At this point, we don’t intend to stop the goodies. We will see where God leads. I am happy to do so. It is very missionary. We will 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 snacks, ”he said.

Jerry B. Hatch