Being a healthcare worker during a pandemic is a unique - and challenging- experience. For many of the staff in our local hospitals and paramedic services, it involves wearing uncomfortable PPE for 12 hours a day, giving up leave to help with staff shortages, and isolating from family and friends to avoid putting their health at risk.
These are some of the burdens that Blakehurst Anglican sought to lighten, led by senior minister the Rev Ross Ryan, in a community project aimed at practically caring for those sacrificing so much for others. For the last few months, the church has been contributing to a range of efforts to show support and love for local healthcare workers from St George Hospital and Kogarah Ambulance Superstation.
Blakehurst Anglican has organised the drop off fruits, snacks, and meal vouchers to workers at the hospital and paramedic station. The church has also made up trays for tea rooms to distribute across the hospital. Another initiative was providing food and coffee vouchers to local cafes so they are able to discount coffee for all nurses, doctors, paramedics, and other health workers who visit.
Many of the staff are faced with shifts upwards of 12 hours without being able to return home and access basic toiletries. To address this need, Blakehurst Anglican started distributing hygiene packs to give healthcare workers a chance to freshen up after a long day.
The church has also been encouraging members to knit or crochet ‘ear savers’ that help make tightly fitted masks more comfortable during the long days. This has also been a way of motivating members to be creative in lockdown and share their efforts with each other.
As the burden of the pandemic increasingly shifts onto the frontline workers in the coming months, efforts like these will mean more than ever to those spending their days in crowded hospitals.
Blakehurst’s LGA in South West Sydney has been significantly impacted by the pandemic and local hospitals have seen multiple outbreaks. These initiatives have mobilised the church congregation to be actively involved in serving their community, giving generously, and modelling Jesus’ heart for the vulnerable.
In a time when reaching the local community has felt difficult for churches, this project is also a great encouragement to us that lockdown does not limit Jesus’ love. With some creativity, there are still many opportunities for churches to be a light to those around them and support those doing it tough.