The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all of us in numerous ways, not the least of which is our call to care for the poor, the downtrodden, and the homeless. Many in our community have suffered separation from communal worship, job loss or reduction in income, disruption of schooling, illness, and even death, as we grapple with this unique challenge to our collective health and wellness.
Early in the pandemic, Bishop Brennan coined the phrase “front line of hope” to describe the first responders—especially nurses and doctors—who are caring for the sick among us. Paramedics, emergency rooms, and hospitals have tirelessly staffed the front line of hope at great risk to themselves, their families, and often times in complete disregard for their personal safety and mental and emotional health. Hospitals are running short of beds, ventilators, and especially of nursing staff—many of whom have contracted the virus themselves.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help enjoys a special relationship with Mount Carmel Grove City Hospital, cultivated over the last decade. We will extend that partnership with four new initiatives as part of Operation Gratitude during the next month, specifically designed to boost the morale and support the hospital’s staff. We invite you to participate in as many of these initiatives as you are able!
First, we invite you to send a physical or virtual note of thanks (and pictures if you want) and to front-line healthcare workers. You can do so at this link, or physical notes can be placed in a basket in the Gathering Space at Our Lady by next weekend (January 24). Our preschool and grade school teachers and children are working over the next few weeks on their own take on this initiative.
Second, through next weekend (January 24), we will collect COVID-19 appropriate gifts of individually wrapped snacks/drinks (nutrition bars, individual bags of chips/pretzels, energy bars, individual bags of candy, single serving juice, energy drinks, and flavored/plain water)—especially if they also contain notes of thanks—for nurses, doctors, and staff at the hospital who often don’t have time to take a meal break. Please drop off your snack gifts here at Our Lady so that we can coordinate delivery to the hospital.
Third, on Wednesday and Saturdays of the next two weeks, Our Lady parish and school volunteers will host a clap-in/out for the nurses, doctors, and staff at Mount Carmel Grove City hospital during shift change, from 6:45-7:30 (evenings on Wednesdays, and mornings on Saturdays). We need a team of up to 20 people each time who will line the staff entrance outside the hospital, masked and socially distanced, to greet, thank, and even clap and cheer for their staff. Please visit bit.ly/OLPHopgratitude to sign up for any of these dates.
Finally, one of Mount Carmel Hospital System’s signature programs is known as Street Medicine, which serves “the most vulnerable of the most vulnerable” — the hundreds of area residents “living on the land” under trees and overpasses and in tent communities scattered throughout the city. This team of Mount Carmel physicians or nurse practitioners, chaplains, EMTs and homeless advocates, visits homeless camps each week, giving free medical care, education, assistance with housing options and referrals to continuing care providers, mental health services and community resources.
Search online for “Mount Carmel Street Medicine” to learn more about the warriors who are battling on the Front Line of Hope.
Through the end of February, you may donate to support MCHS’s Street Medicine program by using your Realm eGiving account or or donate online at the button below. (Under “Fund,” choose MCHS Street Medicine). You may also done by using an envelope found in the Gathering Space.
These initiatives give each of us an opportunity to exercise our baptismal call in a way that best suits our gifts and charism. Whether thanking by card, a gift of food, your physical presence, or through a financial gift, we all can support the Front Line of Hope. What a wonderful way to show our parish’s gratitude and support for all those who have labored on Our Lady’s front line of hope.