Hope Isn't Cancelled

Staff Writer
Lake Sun Leader
Hundreds of meals were donated to Lake Regional's night and day shift employees to give them a bit of encouragement during these difficult times.

Faithbridge United Methodist Church members and friends took to their neighborhoods in October to participate in a Hope Isn't Cancelled virtual 5K run or walk. Entries into the 5K funded meals for frontline healthcare workers.  The Hope Isn't Cancelled organization and Faithbridge United Methodist Church in Osage Beach partnered with Woods Supermarket to provide a total of 400 meals which were donated to night and day shift employees in the ER, ICU, Med/Surg, PCU, and outlying primary care clinics in Eldon, Iberia, Camdenton, Osage Beach, Lake Ozark and Laurie.  

"The 5k isn't really about getting exercise, it was about giving encouragement,” said Pastor Andy Blacksher of Faithbridge Church. “Jesus taught us to love and take care of one another - this is our highest calling as followers of Christ, and it's what medical professionals do every single day.  To say this has been a difficult time for frontline workers is an understatement.  We simply want to say thank you in a small but tangible way."   

Terri Hall, CTFA, Director of Fund Development at Lake Regional Health System, says she is grateful to the many people who have stepped forward to help hospital employees through these unprecedented times.  

“These meals were a wonderful opportunity that came at a great time. I was overwhelmed when the church called to tell me how many meals they had. Even the thank you notes on the bags - it’s just been so wonderfully supportive for our staff,” she said.  “Even with a mask on, I can still see the smile in their eyes when we pass out these meals.”  

Many lake organizations donated thousands of hand-sewn masks and meals at the beginning of the pandemic in March, but support has dwindled a bit over the last six months.  Barb Bierman, board chair at Faithbridge Church, was inspired to find a creative way for church members to have some fun, be in fellowship with one another, and support exhausted healthcare workers, when she came upon the virtual 5K idea through her connections to another United Methodist faith community.  

“It’s been such a long process for healthcare workers these last few months and it’s not slowing down,” she said. “So anything we can do for these workers. I feel sorry that they’re having to face this every single day, not knowing where the light is at the end of the tunnel.  I am happy that our church is able to bless the healthcare workers at this time, and my heart is warmed to hear how appreciative they were at the hospital to receive the meals.”  

Stephanie Dehner, community liaiason for Lake Regional, says she knows that lake healthcare workers truly felt the love and support, and offers ways for the greater community to continue to bless workers during this pandemic, including their new white ribbon initiative.  

“This month, we’re inviting community members to show their support for all frontline workers by displaying a white ribbon at their homes and businesses,” she says. “Follow us on Facebook for details. Community members also can make an impact by making a tax-deductible donation to help us continue to provide exceptional health care at lakeregional.com/donate. And don’t underestimate the impact of kind words. A simple thank you — in person or on social media — uplifts our team.”