By Janelle Ringer, courtesy Loma Linda University Health News
As a Loma Linda University student, Tevita Palaki once skipped meals to financially support his budding ministry that now coordinates numerous volunteers to serve the homeless population in San Bernardino County by offering them the Christian act of footwashing.
Today, the non-profit organization, United Feet, which Palaki launched as a sophomore in 2015, sends out volunteers up to four times a week to serve local homeless. Volunteers are armed with buckets, soap and towels to serve homeless men and women at area churches and outreach events with a sacrament from New Testament accounts of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. Volunteers set up chairs and supplies, wash the feet of homeless people interested in being served, provide them a pair of socks and offer to pray with them.
"You can look into their lives, where they've walked and help wash them clean,” says Palaki, who graduated from Loma Linda University School of Allied Health Professions in 2017 with a Master’s of Science in orthotics and prosthetics. “Showing how Jesus lived is sometimes more impactful than saying it.”
Students from a variety of academic programs at Loma Linda University now volunteer for the ministry, building relationships with the less fortunate in the community, listening to their stories and praying with them.