Local Group ‘Jesus Gestures’ Looks to Support Healthcare Workers, Affected Local Businesses


Special to the Opelika Observer

Jesus Gestures is a local group that has sprung up in the last few weeks in response to the economic and healthcare impact that has been experienced by COVID-19.  The organization is the brainchild of Trinchua Dukes and Cindy Grantham and serves as a way to show Jesus’ love to those in the Auburn-Opelika area who are currently working on the front lines fighting this virus and helping local bakeries and restaurants out at the same time.

 Just a few weeks ago. Dukes found herself in a local bakery and recognized the plight that they, like many others, find themselves in with weddings and all local events being cancelled.  The owner told Dukes that she had to lay-off all seven of her staff in response to these cancellations.  Dukes purchased 10 loaves of bread from her that day and handed them out to the elderly at Northridge Apartments in Opelika. 

It was then that the idea came to her. She reached out to her friends Tom and Cindy Grantham with Purpose Baptist Church and the idea came to fruition. 

    Dukes, who herself served as a nurse at East Alabama Medical Center for  many years, knows firsthand the anxiety and stress that healthcare workers face  every day and how this virus has grown the stress levels exponentially.

“None of us can understand the emotional distress they are under right now,” Dukes said.

 “This is so hard right now. I cry when I park…cry when I walk out to leave. Cry when I can’t sleep during the day and know I have to go back and stay up all night,” said an EAMC nurse.

Jesus Gestures is using donations to feed hospital staff by purchasing food from locally owned bakeries and restaurants. Last week, 150 individually wrapped cookies from Cakeitecture Bakery in downtown Opelika were delivered to the hospital. This week, another 100 were delivered from Sweet as Cakes in Auburn. It’s important that all items be individually wrapped so staff doesn’t have to actually touch them. 

As the donations grow, so does the amount of “gestures” that can be given out.  The organization hopes to branch out to staff and residents at other facilities such as Bethany House, Arbor Springs and area retirement homes that are quarantined during this time. 
Purpose Baptist Church, located at 3211 Waverly Parkway in Opelika, has stepped up to serve as facilitator of all donations.  Those wanting to make a contribution can do so in several ways: by VENMO @Cindy-Grantham-3 or PAYPAL (jesusgestures@gmail.com) or by sending a check to Purpose Baptist Church, 3211 Waverly Parkway, Opelika, AL 36801. Put Jesus Gestures on the check.

 Join their Facebook group “Jesus Gestures” for more information and updates.


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