Volume 34, No. 11
Giving Life through Blood and Food
Dallas County reported 257 new COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths on Tuesday of this week, a record high for both of those figures. For reference, the previous record high of new cases was 253 with 14 deaths. Where do we find life? When 106,000 people have died nationally from COVID-19 and the effects of racism continue to squeeze the life out of black and brown communities, where do we find life? We find life in both expected and unexpected places. Life is found when my friend moved his porch security camera to watch a hanging flower basket with a nest full of baby birds. Life is found as I go to Amanda’s hospital room, put my hand on her belly, and feel my baby boy give me a fist bump. Life is found when anti-racist allies pound the pavement, marching passionately and nonviolently for all of God’s beloved children. Yes, life can be found in the midst of death.
When COVID-19 hit Dallas, Royal Lane closed its doors but didn’t stop being church. Due to the closing of schools and businesses, the Red Cross became critically low on blood and needed to find a central location that was safe for donors. Alayna Moncada, Donor Recruitment Account Manager for the Dallas Red Cross, reached out to me, asking for Royal Lane to be a weekly location for blood donations. We recently concluded those weekly blood drives and this was a statement given to me by Alayna. “From March to May, your community has impacted up to 537 lives. Royal Lane Baptist is by far my most impactful partnership throughout COVID-19. I cannot thank you enough for your continued support.” Moving forward, we will be a monthly donor location on June 16, July 21, and August 18. You can sign up to donate at our blood drive by going to RedCrossBlood.org and entering the sponsor keyword “royallanebaptist” on the calendar.
Another way Royal Lane has sought to bring life and breath during COVID-19 was by partnering with Everyone Eatz, a local food distribution organization created by restauranteur Ram Mehta, a Sikh, and Imam Azhar Subedar, a Muslim. Everyone Eatz and Royal Lane partnered to distribute 10,000 meals to people in need. Memorial Day was chilly and rainy, but a dozen Royal Lane volunteers along with interfaith leaders gave out thousands of meals and took the remaining food to a Sudanese refugee community. Royal Lane members contributed over $3,300.00 to hire police officers for the event and purchase 1,100 of those 10,000 meals. Many people found life through much needed food because of our efforts.
And finally, our communities of color need to know that we, as a predominately white congregation, support, affirm, and value the lives of those affected by racism. Harry Wooten is leading the staff in creating a service of lament to mourn in solidarity with our black sisters and brothers. The Social Justice Team is working on compiling educational resources so we can learn how to be anti-racist and partner with black congregations in our community.
We are in a liminal moment in our country’s story and we, as people of faith, are being called to find life in the midst of death. I think a place to start is to realize that blood and food connect each and every one of us.