In the midst of Covid-19, school chaplains have been passionately and selflessly supporting the most vulnerable in our communities. But what happens when the School Chappy is one of those considered most “at-risk”?
Chappy Dave has a severe chronic condition (polycystic kidneys) and recently had a complete aortic rebuild. Weekly blood tests and check-ups are just part of his regular routine. If he contracted Covid-19 there’s a good chance he wouldn’t survive.
It’s why he’s been kept housebound of late. But it has not stopped him from continuing to provide hope and support to his much-loved school communities.
“It got real in the last week of term – that’s when the stress really picked up in the education space,” Chappy Dave says.
“Teachers had to change the way they teach very suddenly, which caused a lot of stress in that final week. It wasn’t just the unknown of the school calendar, but also not knowing if they are being exposed to Covid – working on the frontlines.
“There was a real sense of uncertainty about what things were going to look like.”
As Dave pondered this, stuck at home, he came up with a way to bring some positivity to the circumstance.
“There are two local coffee shops across the road from the two schools I work at – both were doing it tough just doing takeaway orders,” Chappy Dave recalls.
“I thought I’d shout all the teachers free coffee on the last Friday of Term 1. Both businesses made about 250 bucks as well.
“It was a really good way to end what had been a really stressful time on a positive note. Sowing into local community businesses, and sowing some love into the teachers – letting them know someone was there for them.”
For the teachers at Baringa State Primary School and Buderim Mountain State School – Chappy Dave’s random act of kindness meant a lot.
“At that stage of term, we were unable to leave our classrooms due to extended lunch supervision. Times were very uncertain and stressful,” teachers Sophie and Georgia recall.
“It was nice to have a break to walk across the road to the coffee shop and receive a random act of kindness to bring some positivity and caffeinated energy to our day.
“Chappy Dave is so important during times like these – he’s a ray of sunshine in the school community, for staff and families.
“He’s staying connected to kids with live-streamed baking lessons, regular phone calls and even delivering home-cooked meals to those families who are struggling most.”
Matt Allman, owner of one of the coffee shops John Kyle Espresso, says Chappy Dave’s gesture meant a lot to him – as well as the teachers.
“They [the teachers] were stoked – they had big smiles on their faces and kept telling me how much of a legend Dave is,” Matt says.
“Not only did this help the teachers, but it also helped us as a cafe in those trying times at the start of coronavirus when everyone was freaking out.
“It means a lot. If everyone did random acts of kindness like Dave, the community would be a much better place.”
In this season of uncertainty and rapid change, school chaplains are well placed to provide support for the ever-changing needs of Queensland school communities.
“In general schools are very routine and very structured – chappies in those environments are quite fluid and flexible,” Chappy Dave says.
“We’re primed for this kind of stuff. When things go haywire and break routine, chaplains are there to step up and bring some much-needed positivity to stressful and uncertain situations.”
Chappies wouldn’t be able to support families, teachers and local businesses without your help – thank you for making a difference in the lives of others. Visit suqld.org.au/donate for more ways to show your support.