We were praying as a church staff for health care workers who are on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis. Thanking God for these heroes—for their dedication, sacrifices, compassion, and care—we wondered what we could do to show our appreciation and honor them. So we asked members of our Quail Health Ministry Team how we might accomplish that from their perspective. The team leader emailed right back that First Baptist, Lodi, was doing a drive-by that day at her hospital with a parade of vehicles—to say thank you and pray.
So we talked to Steve Newman at First Baptist, Lodi, and found out how they worked out the logistics. He gave us each step and said it was a phenomenal blessing for all. So we started brainstorming. We decided to call it a Care-A-Van. At first we focused on one hospital, but then we said, why just one? We contacted the administration of four hospitals, and three responded VERY enthusiastically.
The day before the Care-A-Van, we had chalk artists go to each of the three hospitals to beautify the sidewalks with images and messages of encouragement and inspiration for the workers. People made over one hundred yard signs and put them up throughout the hospital campuses that same day.
We contacted the police department to see if they could fun a little interference for the Care-A-Van. (Last December, we developed a good relationship with them when we sponsored Shop with a Cop for elementary students in need at a school we had been cultivating a relationship with.) But they were unable to help because they are only doing essential tasks during the COVID-19 crisis. So we contacted Soldiers of the Cross motorcycle ministry from Modesto, and they showed up with about ten bikers who helped lead the Care-A-Van of vehicles.
We staked out staging areas for each hospital to accommodate around eighty vehicles: no small task, but God provided. While the vehicles waited in each staging area, a flatbed truck with a box stage on the back positioned itself right in front of the hospital. Pastor Marc Maffucci started things off with a brief thank you to the workers who gathered. Some stayed inside to watch and listen from behind glass windows. Then two of our musicians sang Lean on Me and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. The workers were swaying and clapping, dancing, and even leaping! Then came the Care-A-Van from the staging areas, led by the motorcycles. Imagine eighty cars honking, passengers shouting encouragement, with cardboard and glass-painted signs (“QLBC is praying for you,” “Angels Sometimes Wear Scrubs,” “Your
Caring is Contagious,” “You’re not just essential,” “You’re loved!,” and “Real Heroes Wear Masks!”) We asked everyone to pray as they drove by, both for the workers and patients. It was amazing to see the smiles, laughter, and tears and amazing to see the joy and blessing that was released, both for the workers and all of us who participated.
We delivered twenty-three sheet cakes to the hospitals to be served to all the workers after we left. We checked with the hospitals to make sure they conformed to their food and serving policies. One hospital was reluctant to have food brought in, so we made a donation to give the workers a five dollar credit at their cafeteria. We also made a donation to three local food banks in honor of the employees from each of the three hospitals.
The chaplain at one of the hospitals sent a text right after the event:
“Wow, that was one of the most wonderful events ever. Thank you so much. I knew it was going to be awesome. It was spectacular. Thank you. Thank you. The cake has been swarmed! The staff is happy, smiling, tearful…just a great time. God is good.”
We’re still getting calls from individual workers to say thank you and how much it meant to them and their coworkers. This has also opened doors for our Quail peeps who work at these hospitals to share their faith with their friends at work who say, “That was your church?!” God was certainly at work to infuse hope and strength and joy in the workers. The love of Jesus shined through the people of Quail Lakes. He was honored along with the employees!
Learn more how you can support Quail Lakes Care-a-van>