And then I had an idea. I asked in staff meeting if we could film our clients saying thanks. That’s what’s happening in the picture. Laura is filming a client offering her gratitude for what she’s received in the Storehouse today.
And gosh, a lot of people received in the Storehouse today. We registered 98 and served 95. We estimate 1581 pounds of food left our dry room today. And this number helps answer one of the most asked questions after Feed the Need. “How long will the food last?”
Quick division yields 15. That’s fifteen serving days. About one third of our year. And there’s more than one way to look at that. I choose to see it as fifteen serving days ahead of us with food I previously had no idea how we would distribute.
Each Thursday, after the last clients have been served and prayed for, after the left behind food that won’t last for another week has been weighed out and taken, after the forms have been collected, the lights turned out, and the doors locked, I enter data for the day into a spreadsheet.
We track a lot of numbers, for ourselves, and some numbers for the Arkansas Food Bank. Two numbers important to us both, are new clients and how many new individuals those new clients represent.
New clients fill out an application where they list, among other details, the people currently in their household, and I look through the new application forms to gather necessary data. Today, my eyes fell on a heartbreaking form. The people in our client’s household are one granddaughter, and five great-grandchildren.
Did you know, nationwide, 2.7 million grandparents are raising grandchildren, and about one-fifth of those have incomes that fall below the poverty line, according to census figures. Their ranks are increasing. The number of grandparents raising grandchildren is up 7 percent from 2009.
In 2016, in Arkansas, 61,230 (8.7%) children were living with grandparents. And the grandparents are an interesting study. Almost a fourth live in poverty. And over thirty percent have a disability. If you’re interested in learning more about grandparents raising grandchildren in Arkansas, check out:
And the truth is, I really don’t know anything about our client, apart from her having six hungry bellies in her house, and that she’s 73 years old. The Bible doesn’t say much about grandparents and grandchildren, but it does speak about widows and orphans. And this house just seems like it’s mighty close to qualifying.
And today, with your generous help, we cared for widows and orphans. We heard their hearts and prayed over their broken places. We held their hurt in our smiles and handshakes. In a word, we loved them.
On my way home, I spotted one of our clients as I walked to the truck. He’s in his 20s, homeless, and shopped with us today. And he was smoking. And the first thought from the black place in my heart was that we’d done the proverbial back flip to serve him so he’d be able to save his money for smokes.
Of course, the truth is, I don’t know a thing about the circumstances around his smoking this afternoon. Maybe he bummed a smoke. Maybe he picked up a butt from the ground. Maybe he stole some.
But suddenly I’m off on a judgment tangent trying to wade through who is and who isn’t being frivolous with their resources. Who is and isn’t deserving of our goodness. A seventy-three year old grandmother with six more mouths at her table is a slam dunk. A twenty something fella who looks like he could work is not.
Then Jesus reminds me of my part. I’m to operate a food pantry and love the people who show up there. All of them. And I have the desire to do that, but if Philippians 2:13 is to be believed, I can’t take credit for the strength or courage to do my part. Or even for the desire to do it.
I left today hoping that our grandmother and our young man would come back next month, if they need us. And that they’d know they are loved by us, because we are all loved by Jesus.
And I asked Jesus to take care of them both.
I am the Storehouse Director and get the privilege of writing about the people that Jesus loves.
Contact Mike Rush at firstname.lastname@example.org for all things "Volunteer".
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