Tomorrow is Monday and just like so many others, my alarm will ring ridiculously early. I will get up and get ready for work. Except my office isn't a traditional office on Monday's. It's pantry day. A semi truck from Forgotten Harvest will deliver any where from 20,000 to 30,000 lbs. of food to pass out to our guests. We have an average of about 275 - 300 families weekly.
I have the honor of working with about 30 volunteers who arrive smiling and excited to serve. The majority of my volunteers came to us because they needed food. Serving weekly gives each one a sense of purpose for that day. It allows them to give back and help meet a need for someone else. I am amazed at the dedication, sacrifice and love shared by each one of my volunteers. Rain or shine, extreme heat or bitter cold, each person will serve. This pantry operates outdoors and tomorrow's temperature will
be 26 degrees at start time.
It's been 4 years now that we have been hosting this pantry. We began the pantry at the height of the recession here in southeast Michigan. Hard working people who have been at their jobs some for more than 20 years found themselves suddenly unemployed. Retired seniors lost their pensions. Many seniors found themselves taking their adult children and grandchildren in to their homes. Retirement was not intended to support a family so they suddenly needed help too.
In more recent years we have seen a very large influx of refugees from the middle east. I can't imagine having to leave my home because it's too dangerous to stay, arriving in a country that many of the people have anger, fear and resentment and I can't speak the language. It's difficult to find a job when you can't communicate.
Many of our guests are now working but they are what is called underemployed. They don't make enough income to pay their bills and feed their family. Pantries like ours allows families to pay bills on time and still provide healthy food for their family.
You see, hunger does not just effect one race, one age group or only lazy people. Hunger can happen to you or me and it can happen suddenly, often as a result of things out of our control. Hunger does not discriminate.
Sadly, the past two weeks our weather has been brutal with wind chills 10 degrees below zero. The only time we cancel our pantry is when the temps. or wind chills are below zero. It's just too cold to have our volunteers outside for 4 hours in dangerous tempuratures. So our guests have gone two weeks without food from us. I anticipate that we will have a full list of scheduled guests tomorrow.
So as I sit here tonight preparing for what I always call ♫♪Another Forgotten Harvest Monday ♫♪. I have made cookies for my volunteers as I often do. I pray for each of my volunteers as I go. Many are facing devastating life challenges. One of my dear volunteers has terminal cancer and is in and out of the hospital often. Another volunteer had a major stroke a year ago and is struggling to regain his mobility. Some of my volunteers are very lonely and Monday's are a source of fellowship and joy for them. I can never afford pay them what they are worth or deserve. So I offer love in the form of a baked treat from my kitchen.
My prayer for anyone who has taken time to read my heart, is that you are moved to do something for someone who can not possibly repay you.