Young adult hits pavement to get word out on HHS mandate
For the first time in weeks, St. Louis received relief from the heat in the form of rain last weekend. But it stopped just in time for Alyssa Entwistle and her friends to hit the streets. Their mission -- to get the word out about the HHS health care mandate.
Entwistle, 19, is an incoming sophomore at Lindenwood University and a parishioner at St. Joseph in Cottleville. As she started learning more about the federal mandate -- which will require most employers to cover contraception, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans -- she felt a deep, God-driven desire to do something about it.
On July 29, Entwistle and more than a dozen of her friends and some parents went door-to-door in Cottleville and surrounding areas, handing out fliers that explained more about the mandate. The group was out on the streets for almost two hours, handing out nearly 200 fliers. Before they left from St. Joseph, associate pastor Father Noah Waldman gave the group a blessing.
"First and foremost, it was God speaking to me," said Entwistle. She explained that she's the kind of person who prefers to get involved, rather than to just sit back and feel sympathetic about something. "You have to do something about it, or else nothing will happen," she said.
She also said that if she hadn't done something to get involved, and the mandate continues to go through as planned, "I will feel in my heart that I didn't try to do something about this."
Entwistle wrote up the flier, and called her best friend, Faith Otten, in search of support. They sent out a Facebook event notification to friends, including those from the youth group at St. Joseph, friends at the Catholic Newman Center at Lindenwood and others. Those who couldn't make it assured Entwistle of their prayers.
"There were rosaries being said that day and lots of prayers," she said. "I know that helped a lot."
Those who didn't feel comfortable enough to speak at length about the issue were encouraged to leave fliers at people's doors. Others knocked and were able to talk to residents.
"We got a lot of positive responses, which was actually surprising," she said. "Other people had heard about it but were not really familiar with it." Some expressed gratitude for sharing the information. "There was a guy who was talking to my mom, and he asked for some extra fliers."
The group, in their prayer before setting out, asked that God might open people's hearts and minds on the mandate. "I felt pretty accomplished" at the end, said Entwistle. "Just getting a flier to one house meant more than if we hadn't done it at all."
Entwistle said she has extra fliers and plans to hit the streets again. To help out, she may be contacted at email@example.com.
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