Saturday, November 19, 2016

Grateful Hearts, Thanksgiving Blessings, and a Tearful Goodbye

Good Morning out there - It's a beautiful day. Blue skies, sunshine, and a chill in
the air. We have two baby lambs. One was born on Tuesday and the other one
was born yesterday. I walked out back this morning to see how they were doing.
I laughed when I saw them jumping around. I watched them for a little while and
then decided that I needed a cup of coffee!
The holidays are right around the corner. It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is
next Thursday. Several people from our parish have donated canned goods and dry
food items so that we could help those who are not able to purchase everything they
need to make a Thanksgiving meal for their family. This past week, those who
volunteer at the Sack Lunch Ministry, came early and/or stayed late and stocked
several large, heavy duty bags with all kinds of food; Stove Top Stuffing, cranberry
sauce, chicken broth, turkey gravy packets, fruit cocktail, canned soup, vegetables
and canned milk, etc. We found out which families needed these items, they were
contacted and they were able to pick them up yesterday after 1:00 p.m. Our sweet
Miss Rose, even made some special deliveries.
The Knights of Columbus Council #2136 donated money for us to buy turkeys for
each one of these families. Janice and her family will pick up the turkeys tomorrow
and the families who are receiving them will pick them up on Monday.
Yesterday was such a blessing. The families who received the food were so thankful
and we were all so blessed just to be part of this wonderful time of sharing. We
will give out more food bags and the turkeys on Monday. We are also fixing a big
lunch on both Monday and Tuesday for those we serve at the Sack Lunch Ministry.
There is really no way to describe the blessing of this ministry. If you drop by or
help out for just one day - it grabs you, it grabs your heart. This ministry has opened
my eyes to how much I used to take for granted. When Jim and I say grace before
our meals we thank God, we thank Him for so many things. When I lie down at night
I pray for those who have no home, no bed, no safe place to lay their head. I think
about those we serve and I wonder if they are cold. I pray for their safety. I wish I
could do so much more. There is another couple who feels the same way I do -
Janice and David, and they have hearts of gold. Yesterday a young couple
came into the church office asking for help. I think it was about 9:30 a.m. The very
kind lady who works in the parish office came into the kitchen and asked if we could
help them. She told us that they had slept at the bus station and she was going to look
for a blanket. This young couple walked in and I know that Janice and I both had the
same exact thought -
what if this was our son or our daughter, our niece or our nephew. We welcomed
them and told them to sit down and we would fix them something to eat. Miss Rose
and I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches while Janice went out to visit with
them. I took them each a plate with a sandwich, some applesauce, some juice and a
bottle of water. Janice told Miss Rose and I that she was going to run home and grab
a coat for him and some shoes for her and whatever else she thought they might need.
I told them that we were serving a hot lunch from 11:00 - 1:00 p.m. I also told them
that Janice had gone to get some things for them. They were both so appreciative. I
had tears in my eyes when the young man hugged me and thanked us so sincerely.
I hugged the young lady and then they left. Janice arrived a few minutes later. She
had grabbed one of her grandson's jackets and some of his shirts. She had a pair of
sneakers for the young lady and two brand new blankets. These items were all
neatly tucked into some cloth bags with handles. We put them aside hoping that the
young couple would return. The three of us got busy preparing the lunches for the
day. About 10:45 a.m. people began to arrive. We were busy handing out lunches
when the young couple came back. They sat down and ate their lunch and I told
them to come into the kitchen when they were through. My daughter and her two
youngest daughters dropped by to leave some more stuffing, cans of cranberry
sauce, gravy mixes and mac n cheese. She stayed to help for a little bit because
we were so busy. While she served the lunches, Janice and I gave the young couple
the items she had brought from home. We also fixed a bag with some food staples
and we each received another heartfelt hug before they left. My daughter called
me later in the afternoon and told me that just helping out for a little while was
such a reality check. She was so glad she had been able to help. She made a
comment about how much the people appreciated the lunch, her heart was touched.
This next part is something we prayed would not happen and is the hardest for me
to share. Because of some issues that are totally out of our control,
the Sack Lunch Ministry will close on December 16, 2016. We pray that this is
just a temporary closure, and will only last until some safety issues and other things
are addressed but honestly, we just don't know. There are no adequate words to
describe the pain in my heart and I know in Janice's heart too.
We just found out this week. We will do everything we can to make the transition of
our closing as easy as possible for all those we serve. We are letting our devoted
volunteers and those who so generously give to this ministry aware of the closing
date. We will be giving out new socks, gloves, and bags full of toothpaste, soap,
deodorants, tooth brushes, etc. that last week. If you want to contribute items or
just come and help out - we would love to have you join us. Please pray for those
who we serve because this will be the hardest for them. Not only have they
depended on us for a noon meal, they've received a warm welcome, a smile, and
many times a listening ear.  We will also make sure to hand out information sheets
of all the services that are available, where they are located and what they provide.
I still don't know when we are going to let them know about the closing. I just know
it is going to be really hard.
I know that God has plans of His own and we will pray for His guidance.
I wrote a story last November about a young man who stopped by the Sack Lunch
Ministry. We never did see him again and I hope he made it safely back home.
Looking back I'm so glad that we were there for him that one day he needed a
lunch, and more importantly just to know that someone cared. I'll attach the link
to the story below if you would like to read it.
Blessings to you and yours - Bye for now, Sharla


  1. This is a topic which is close to my heart... Best wishes! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    1. You can contact me through my email address - I also have a face book page. Thank you for reading my blog and for your comment!