Concord Students Spend Spring Break Serving Others
Athens, W.Va. – Beautiful white beaches and an exciting nightlife bring many students to Panama City Beach, Fla., for spring break. However, other students from across the United States, including nine students this year from Concord University, headed to Florida with a different purpose and motivation in mind—to serve others and share the love of Jesus Christ.
Concord University students in the Baptist Student Union (BSU) worked with a ministry called BeachReach to provide free pancake breakfasts and free van rides to students in one of the hottest spring break locations in the United States the week of March 5.
The packed streets of Panama City Beach and the amount of alcohol available to students often prove a dangerous combination. This provides an opportunity for BeachReach to serve by providing free van rides. Each night students can call for a free ride to and from any location on the strip.
Concord University used a bus provided by First Baptist Church in Princeton, which they named “Big Mama,” to provide safe and meaningful trips to students on spring break.
Each morning, the BeachReach volunteers headed out to provide free pancake breakfasts and meet with the students they had met on the free van rides the night before. They spent their time holding signs advertising the pancakes along the highway; serving pancakes, butter, syrup, or drinks; cleaning up or emptying trash; and meeting with students to offer encouragement and to share their love of Jesus.
On the last night, the Concord students worked in the “Base,” or the command center for the van ride service. They answered the telephone calls of spring breakers needing rides, coordinated and dispatched vans to pick them up, answered the prayer request line, and communicated back and forth with the vans.
During the week, “Big Mama” provided 168 van rides and more than 3,000 pancakes were served by the BeachReach volunteers. Several spring breakers said they encountered a life-changing faith experience because of their interaction with BeachReach.
Even though the volunteer work required the students to be out past 2 a.m. providing free van rides and waking up around 9 a.m. to head to the pancake breakfast, the participating students said that they were relaxed and refreshed by their experience.
“BeachReach allowed me to forget about the stresses of college life and give my entire self to my Savior for his will, without letting tests, essays, and studying get in the way of allowing his will to be done in my life,” Concord student Treska Dunbar from Palestine stated.
“BeachReach takes students out of their comfort zones and allows them to serve others while growing in their own lives. It transforms students into outgoing people with servants’ hearts. BeachReach shows us all that we can do what seemed impossible when we rely on God,” said BSU Director Bobbie Cox.
The students who participated were: Lonnie Bowe, Coal City; Jesse Call, Pocahontas, Va,; Treska Dunbar, Palestine; Benjamin Hatfield, Marianna; Vanessa Helbig, Spencer; Caryne Johnson, Hinton; Katie McCollum, Mannington; Jennifer Mouser, Bridgeport; and Samantha Smith, St. Marys. BSU sponsors Samuel and Bobbie Cox of Athens also participated.
CONCORD UNIVERSITY NOTES: Jesse Call, a student majoring in political science and history, wrote this press release. His hometown is Pocahontas, Va.