One station of the Branch Out Chapel on Friday, Oct. 13 was assembling Crisis Care Kits in affiliation with the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) in the ARC. One hundred twenty-five students packed 200 Crisis Care Kits (CCKs) for those who have been affected by Hurricane Maria, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey and the earthquake in Mexico.
Branch Out Chapels provided students with an opportunity to engage in different activities and ways of worship, one of which is “Acts of Mercy.” This gave students the opportunity to engage in volunteer work in a time slot of 45 minutes on the Point Loma campus.
“NCM had sent out an email that said they were in need of replenishing the Crisis Care Kits,” said PLNU Director of Community Ministries Dana Hojsack. “We knew that we were doing these Branch Out Chapels that would have one [station] for Acts of Mercy, so we thought that would be perfect.”
The Care Kits contained hygiene products like shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, hair brushes and finger nail clippers. Each kit also included one small, stuffed animal toy for any children who are in the shelter. All of these products were donated, brand new, by PLNU students and faculty. NCM provided specific packing instructions that the students had to abided by during the chapel.
The NCM’s mission, according to their website is, “to partner with local Nazarene congregations around the world to clothe, shelter, feed, heal, educate and live in solidarity with those who suffer under oppression, injustice, violence, poverty, hunger and disease.” The CCKs are just one way that the PLNU community could help aid communities that are experiencing hardships, as close as the fires that are in Northern California.
The work of students at the Branch Out Chapel has begun to impact people around the world. According to Khoshiella Susitheren, the Donor Relations Specialist for NCM, the ministry is sending Care Kits to Puerto Rico, Dominica, the Bahamas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Guadalupe, Haiti, Florida, Texas, Louisiana and others, along with cities in Mexico including Chiapas, Oaxaca and Puebla.
The packaging of the CCKs was completed within twenty minutes. Students then had the opportunity to create Halloween-themed cards for the children who live at Rady Children’s Hospital, senior citizens who live at Golden Living assisted-living residence, or for the homeless population. Students could also write a letter to a member of the United States military. Paper of varying colors, scissors, glue, stamps and colored pencils were all provided to make these care cards.
“I hope that students learn that serving doesn’t take a whole lot,” said Hojsack. “It takes showing up and it takes a willingness to get outside of yourself.”
PLNU offers a variety of programs, including Loveworks, Ministry with Mexico and Homeless Ministries, where students can help volunteer to give back to both local and global communities.
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