As we dove into the month of March, the PHC community faced serious mixed emotions. Spring break brought a much-needed opportunity for rest, a long-awaited trip to Israel, and disappointment as the executives chose to cancel the equally anticipated trip to Italy due to the corona outbreak.
Though the students in Israel came home three days early, normalcy still seemed ascertainable when classes resumed. Monday, March 9 marked the first day of midterm season. The weather was wonderful, the first taste of spring. On Tuesday, President Haye announced that those who went to Israel would have to quarantine themselves at his house. Though this stirred up some whispers, coronavirus still seemed rather distant from the rest of campus. A day later, Haye announced the transition to online instruction.
[READ: Students Experience Israel With Passages in 2020.]
Every day this month stands as evidence to show how fragile "normalcy" is. The idols we build up—the plans we put our faith in and the control we pretend to have—are paper thin.
As we face this reality, it's important to remember that none of us are facing it alone. We're just facing it six feet apart. Continue reading to see just one of the ways the PHC community has come together this month.
[READ: "God's not asking us to muscle through this on our own, to begin making new plans and schedules to put our trust in."]
An unusual delivery made its way to campus on Wednesday night: alumnus Ian Frith arrived in the lobby of the Barbara Hodel Center with a shopping-cart’s worth of snacks. The delivery was part of a larger campaign to assist students concerned over exams and—more recently—pandemics. “My original idea had nothing to do with coronavirus,” Frith said. “I honestly just thought it would be a nice gesture during midterms, which I knew were generally a stressful time.”
It began when Frith offered money for a cup of coffee via a post in the PHC Family Facebook group on March 10. As students rushed to provide their Venmo information, several alumni took note of Frith’s act of kindness.
That day (March 10) also saw Loudoun County announce its first confirmed case of coronavirus.
On March 11, the caffeine offer was expanded to three cups. That afternoon, PHC’s administration emailed students to announce an upcoming transition to online classes. “My plan is to give away TEN cups of coffee today and TEN cups tomorrow before everyone scatters to go DL,” Frith responded the next day.
Alumni continued to contribute funds, and the off er increased to 20 cups on March 13. “I knew that my alumni community had a wonderful heart for the student body, but I think
a lot of them don’t know how to practically relate to the students after they graduate,” Frith said.
Assistance from alumni was spiritual as well. “The alumni community is praying for all of y’all, leaving or staying,” Frith wrote, “and I would encourage all of you to pray for one another. That is the best remedy against any fear or anxiety that I can recommend.”
The service was expanded earlier this week, now catering to requests for snacks in addition to coffee. Frith has remained diligent to follow CDC recommendations. “Better social distancing practices are to just have one person go out and get the food and deliver it to campus periodically,” he said.
Spring 2020 might be an especially useful time for such connection. Loudoun County currently sits on 43 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
Restaurants have closed their seating areas, and grocery stores' paper goods aisles are empty. Even so, Frith believes that acts of kindness deserve to be repeated. “My plan for now is to start another ‘coffee drive’ around every midterms and finals week as long as people are willing to keep giving,” he said. “I’d love to see it continue in some form sans a crisis pandemic.”
Introduction by Marjorie Pratt.
One of PHC's three distinctives is our dedication to a biblical worldview, inside and outside of class. Click below to learn more about spiritual life on campus!