As with all of you, my schedule got pretty busy over the summer months; watching grandbabies, working on my inventions, staining a deck, or promoting positivity…whatever.
With so much going on, I felt the need to get back in the game and see what else I could do to help others in need. During what time I gathered up, I decided to visit the Serve City pantry a couple of days; to see what it was all about, and hopefully to raise awareness of the good work they do. I met other volunteers and staff members, and got to help families shop for their food.
It was interesting to see how their system unfolded, and how organized they were in the process. On specific days and times, they open their doors for a couple of hours; allowing those in the community who have real needs to come and shop for their families. There was no line necessary beforehand because it wasn’t first come first serve; it was draw a number and wait your turn. Each person had to be signed in and given their card to confirm they were allowed to shop.
There were a couple of stops people could make along the way to the food isle, too. They could buy a bag of clothes for five dollars, or they could talk to someone about their other needs. The most important thing to remember…come to the desk when your number is called or you will miss your turn in the food line. That’s huge!
After only a minute of training (not hard to do), I was ready to go! As I approached the first person I would help, I extended my hand and shared my name. As we went along, we would share little details about each other. I would tell them why I was there, and they would share something about themselves; usually it was how they ended up there. Each interaction touched my heart. Each person I assisted showed kindness, consideration, respectfulness, and gratitude.
Most people came on their own, while others came with the aid of a social worker or friend. Some people only had one or two in their family; while others had five or six. Each aisle had a number stating how many items each person could get; portioning so hopefully everyone left with something.
All I know is that by the time I finished with the first person around the isles, there was a long line of others waiting for their turn! I only hoped that by the time they reached the front of the line, they, too, would be able to take something home to their families.
Sadly, there are slim pickings for those near the end of the line; fruits and vegetables had been picked over, and much of the boxed items and breads were gone.
Serve City is a rather small building, and their equipment is in desperate need of an overhaul. For instance, look at this big freezer that has been patched as much as it probably can. What then???
Just take a moment and see some of the faces of those doing this selfless work on a regular basis. Their kindness encourages me to keep giving back in some unselfish way.
I remember Paul and Ruth; the last two folks I walked down the aisle, and I remember wondering how something so simple as my helping them could be so rewarding for me. I personally felt better about myself! All sweaty and hot, I wondered what else I could do to make a bigger impact. Certainly, I hope and pray God shows me my purpose in the realm of helping others, and in the meantime, I will go with the flow; hoping that I am following in the footsteps He desires.
Whatever happens, I came away feeling blessed: blessed to have the opportunity to help someone else; blessed that Serve City even exists to help others in need in a great way, and blessed because God opens doors that were once closed for me; helping me to see what a difference I could make…if I so desire.
You may be asking yourself, “What could I do to make a difference?” Let me help you with that…anything! Anything that God puts on your heart, go ahead and find a way to do it!
Maybe you’re crafty. You could get a little crafty and offer a unique gift for each person who comes one day.
Whatever it is you do for others; make it count. You don’t have to share your goals (or accomplishments) because God already knows what you do for others; however, sharing with others does promote more people opening themselves up to the idea of helping someone else…and that’s never a bad thing.
Have a blessed day.
NOTE: As you may know, my friend, Gladys, and I have made several trips around the area to contribute our (and your) donations. We filled purses and bags with items we thought a person might need. We had toiletries, socks, sweat pants, snacks…you name it and we probably had one of them in our bags. We truly felt we were making a difference, and we knew we were because other people joined in.
After meeting with the director of Serve City, we realized that although the bags were well-received, there was something else we could do that would be more helpful.
So, for the future, we will not be collecting bags, but will be donating our time to the pantry and shelter on occasion. We want to work directly with those in need through volunteering our time and offering potential projects that fit the needs of that community. We don’t know where and when our train will leave the station, but we know we will continue on somewhere and in some way.