Two weekends ago, my boys and I participated in our church's yearly outreach to Annapolis. It's the 5th year they've done it. It's called Daily Bread. It's such a wonderful ministry. I think I've done it two years now. I missed last year for some reason, and Fred missed it this year because of his back surgery.
What is Daily Bread? SO glad you asked! Our church collects food and monetary donations to buy food so that volunteers can go out into the community and deliver boxes of food to families in need. The Housing Authority has partnered together with us, and introduced us to communities we could go into.
Starting a couple of months ago, our head pastor started telling the congregation what food donations they needed to have us bring for the event. On Friday night, all of the volunteers showed up and assembly lined 1400 boxes of food in under an hour! It was AMAZING! It was my first year packing. The pastor who put this whole shindig together spotted me walking around waiting for an assignment, and he said he had the perfect one for me. Insert a groan because his face told me I was going to "enjoy" my job. My youngest stocked the entire run of stations for his row. Each time someone was running whatever they were sticking in a box, he would give them a new supply.
My job turned out to be labeler. Apparently this is a job that's had mistakes before. Well, my "issue" with doing the stickers was, well, I guess I have OCD! I pride myself on being good at laying stickers so that there aren't air bubbles or folds. For real, I was holding up our line trying to go fast, but put the stickers on nicely! I was making myself crazy. I definitely shook my fist at the pastor at one point when he walked by! =)
I met new people on Friday night. The first was a wonderful lady who happened to see an advertisement in the newspaper looking for volunteers. She attends a different church, but wanted to be part of an outreach. Elder Bill KNOWS I'm always desperate to meet new people, but I think I also have the gift of welcoming people! THEN the cool part, I met a new family, and Bill was thrilled with himself getting to introduce us. The gal's name is Mimi! Her son is the same name as one of my son's! How fun is that? I did take a photo with them at the end of the day. They haven't lived here long, and I really enjoyed them. In fact, I told her I wanted to deliver food with her family the next day. Guess what? We were on the same team! SO excited!
We gathered on Saturday morning for some donuts and coffee, worship, and prayer. Both boys were supposed to hang out with me, but the youngest wanted to be with the youth group. Go figure. Traitor. We met with our group leaders and then headed down to where our boxes were because we had to assembly line 150 boxes onto a rented truck.
Our group headed to a location in Annapolis, and we got to business knocking on doors to deliver boxes of food and to pray for the families that wanted it. A few people chose not to take boxes, and many people weren't home. The Housing Authority had sent out fliers, so they knew we were coming.
I can't begin to put into words how amazing it was doing this ministry. Being able to give back, especially to those in need was powerful! I love doing this kind of work. Having the opportunity to pray for people is really a gift. Praying out loud for people definitely isn't my gift, but I was absolutely willing to do it!
One of my experiences with my son, he and I were by ourselves, and went to a home to bring a box. A lady answered, and when we offered to pray with her, she declined. I asked her if there were anything she'd like for us to pray for after we left her. She said yes, and that God knew what it was. Ok, no problem. We moved on and went to other homes. As we were getting ready to go to a new street, she called me back. Oh dear, I wasn't sure what she wanted. God had moved her to invite me, and only me, into her home to pray with her. HOW neat is that? What a blessing! I'm going to go back and visit her this week to see if she's gotten any answer to our prayers.
Another home we went to in another neighborhood, this lady answered the door, and she was so fun to chat with. At the end, she was pretty much inviting me back. I told her I'd do it, and she said she was expecting to see me again. After I visit with the lady I mentioned above, I'm going to head over to this gal's home and chat with her for a while.
It was great watching my son getting involved. He just grabbed boxes to bring them to homes, knocked on doors, and held hands when we prayed. It's definitely out of his comfort zone, but he's growing so much as a young man and as a Christian. He's just such a great kid, and I was thankful he and I were able to do this together.
I'm already looking forward to next year, and being able to do this all over again. It's a huge undertaking, and I'm thankful for our administration and the volunteers who gave so much time to bring every piece of it together!