BPC students participate in Servant Leadership Day. BPC
By Evan Riekhof
MOUNT VERNON — Servant Leadership, a core value of Brewton-Parker College, seeks to inspire and develop servant leaders to follow the example of Jesus in self-sacrifice and service to others. As a spotlight on Servant Leadership during this school year, Brewton-Parker College conducted a Servant Leadership Day on Aug. 25.
On Servant Leadership Day, BPC hosted the Feeding America Food truck for Montgomery County, a mobile food pantry, and the 2020 Census bus following the dedication of the Warren C. Crawley, Sr. Commons. Through Feeding America, faculty, staff, students, and members of the community volunteered their time and energy as servant leaders helping distribute 560 boxes of food and 2,000 gallons of milk to our community. Volunteers also helped man the Census bus and assisted citizens and students in completing census forms.
The Feeding America Truck and Census bus travel together and depend solely on volunteer support. The Feeding America website states the Feeding America network is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Volunteers play an important role in its efforts to end hunger.
Student participation in the census is extremely important. Cities, like Mount Vernon, depend on an accurate census count to apply for and receive federal dollars which help build infrastructure and provide needed resources for citizens. BPC students account for approximately 15% of the population of the city of Mt. Vernon.
According to Beverly Robinson, vice president of student success and diversity engagement for BPC and one of the organizers of the event, combining the dedication of the Crawley Commons and Servant Leadership Day made perfect sense because “Servant Leadership is about following the path of Jesus.” In 1904, Mr. Warren C. Crawley Sr., a former slave, donated five acres of land to several local churches that dreamed of establishing a Christian school in Montgomery County. Crawley knew during a time of segregation that his grandchildren would not be able to attend the school. His gift displayed a Christ-like act of love and the hope of unity and forgiveness and represents the very definition of Servant Leadership.
Bill Ward, BPC advisory board member and community member, decided to participate in the event because it was almost entirely volunteer-run. Ward stated, “Without the enthusiasm of local volunteers, this program could not achieve its mission. The volunteer time, energy, and dedication given by all who volunteered meant that hundreds of families in our service area were able to live at least temporarily without the uncertainty and fear of being at risk for hunger during this pandemic and these uncertain times.”
Volunteers spent the day sorting food, loading food into vehicles, and assisting with census forms. Student Jean Elden J. Bozor, junior from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was happy to volunteer for the event. Bozor stated, “The event gives you the opportunity to minister to people, it helps to connect with one another. Even a simple ‘God bless you’ or ‘God loves you’ can make a huge impact or difference in someone’s life.” Bozor referenced 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 which says that God loves a cheerful giver and is able to bless abundantly so we lack nothing. Bozor stated, “Not only were we helping with material things, but we are giving our time for the Lord.”
Among the faculty members assisting was Tanvi Chauhan, assistant library director and a long-time member of the Cultural Diversity Committee, who enjoys helping and interacting with different people. “I find it my duty to participate and serve in community events that foster a sense of collective kinship,” she stated.
Recent 2020 BPC graduate and assistant to the Academic Success Center, Gregory Kennedy, also volunteered and stated that the event would not have been possible without volunteers to help distribute the food and milk in an orderly fashion. Kennedy believes volunteering as a member of the BPC faculty/staff versus when he was a student has given him a different perspective. His perspective as a student was that he only saw what was happening while he was volunteering, and he only saw the “outside perspective of how the community was helped. “As a faculty/staff member, you see the whole picture. You see the results, you see how many people came to help, you see how much you helped the community. It gives a broader picture than what you would previously see as a student.”
Over 1,000 Montgomery County families received food and milk as a result of Servant Leadership Day, providing opportunities for the BPC family and community members to follow the example of Jesus in self-sacrifice and service to others as a servant leader.
Evan Riekhof is the marketing coordinator for Brewton-Parker College.