Acts 20:35 – In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
More than 600 people gathered at the gates of American University of Health Sciences (AUHS) the day before Thanksgiving carrying reusable shopping bags, cardboard boxes, backpacks, utility carts, empty strollers, and wagons. AUHS held it’s annual Acts of Love event where they donated free turkeys and groceries to people in need last Wednesday November 23rd, 2016.
The Acts of Love event officially began at 1 pm but a line had already begun to form as early as 6 in the morning. People came in droves- mostly families and senior citizens. The line wrapped around the campus and stretched down several blocks.
Many children played tag and rode their scooters in the parking lot while their parents waited in line. There were elderly people who brought their walkers, wheelchairs and canes. Some brought folding chairs and umbrellas, others left their carts and bags to hold their place in line while they rested under the trees nearby.
AUHS gave 1,000 vouchers to schools and charitable organizations such as Signal Hill Elementary School, Whittier Elementary School, Bobbie Smith Elementary Community School, The United Cambodian Community, and the Lutheran Social Services of Southern California. Approximately 600 people attended the event. AUHS gave 4,000 pounds of turkey, 4,000 pounds of potatoes, 4,000 pounds of yams, 2,000 pounds of carrots, 4,000 pounds of rice, and 150 boxes of stuffing mix.
“I think it’s great they’re giving back to the community and helping the community out,” said Debra Brown who came the event with her 10-year-old daughter, Treasure.
Brown called the AUHS nursing students who volunteered at the event, “wonderful,” and that she appreciated how they made the extra effort to make the attendee’s wait as comfortable as possible.
40 AUHS students volunteered at the event fully dressed in their blue nursing uniforms. Some students arrived as early as 6 am to help unload supplies from the food truck, unbox and bag groceries, pitch the tents, set up the chairs and tables, and make other arrangements for the attendees.
As AUHS students and faculty rushed to have the groceries prepared, there were students who stood by the crowd and tended to their needs. Two elderly women approached nursing student Grace Pak for a bottle of water. One of the women told her that her friend was diabetic and beginning to get dehydrated. Pak told the women to wait while she went to ask for them. In the end, Pak made sure the woman received water.
“I didn’t realize what I took for granted meant so much to others,” said Pak, “I never knew that this many people were hungry and it feels really good to be part of a school that gives to people in need.”
This was Pak’s first time volunteering at AUHS’ Acts of Love event and she was impressed by the diversity of the crowd.
“It’s a very loving and happy crowd. There’s so many different types of people here,” Pak said, “It helps me open my eyes to the people I’m going to be seeing in a hospital setting in the future.”
Pastor Gregory Johnson and Dr. Kim Dang-Johnson (Hon.), co-founders of AUHS, worked alongside their students in preparing and distributing food to needy individuals. Dr. Dang-Johnson was on the grounds at 6:30 am making sure the food and supplies arrived on time. Pastor Johnson worked diligently at the back of a u-haul truck unboxing and bagging the turkeys.
Pastor Johnson and Dr. Dang-Johnson’s children Gregory Jr., Alex, and Temujin also attended the event, helping pass out the groceries. Dr. Dang-Johnson’s sister, Lieu Dang Sus, and her children Matthew and Maddi also volunteered at Acts of Love.
“Whatever we deem to do, what good is there if it fails in blessing true?” Pastor Johnson said, “Or render honor too, ‘THE ONE’ who died for you, and me?”
AUHS is a private, for-profit, minority owned, minority serving, Christian-based university that offers a B.S. degree in Nursing and Pharmaceutical Sciences and a Master’s degree in Clinical Research.
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