I was standing in the cold food room when a volunteer from our computer desk stepped into the doorway; frantic, wild-eyed, waving me toward her. “Mike you’ve got to come! A client has passed out.” Then she took off down the hallway. I was close behind her.
The scene inside the client waiting room was also frantic. Panic-stricken. Our client was out of her chair; one of the wide walkers that also has a seat. But she was only partly out. Her knees were on the floor, her body being held upright by other clients.
I stepped back into the hall through which I could see all the way down to the cold food room, where I spotted Marguerite. I yelled her name several times. She’s an RN. Not long after that, someone yelled for Cleve, also a volunteer in the cold food room. He’s an RN as well, but spent the bulk of his career as a nurse anesthetist.
Someone said, “She’s completely out, Mike. You have to call 911.”
Eventually our client was completely on the floor, laying on her side. Cheryl, our hostess, held her head. Cleve and Marguerite checked her breathing and pulse, and tried unsuccessfully to communicate with her.
911 dispatch had routed my call to an EMT. “Is she breathing,” he asked. I told him I wasn’t sure. He told me to watch her and say “now” every time she breathed. I said “now” three times, but then said, “It’s really hard to tell.”
A quick-thinking client had early said, “Mike, I’ll go outside and wait for the ambulance.” In a few minutes, he led the EMTs from the fire department in. A few minutes after that, two first responders from MEMS wheeled a gurney inside.
We’d only been open for eighteen minutes, but my phone logged the 911 call at 9:48. We had probably registered 40 clients by that point, and they were all inside the room where this was taking place. Trapped, in a way, because our client had been laid out almost directly in front of the door.
And I’ll just confess right now that I had not prayed about this eventuality.
I pray for food. I pray for clients. I pray for volunteers. I’m pretty sure those three needs lay pretty close to my pity and fear nerves. So I pray about them. I don’t think I’ve ever been afraid of, or even wondered if, we’d lose a client in the Storehouse on a serving day.
Is that, too, something I should be praying about?
A couple thousand years ago, literally on the other side of the planet, the Savior of the world stands on a hillside explaining to common folks about the Kingdom of God. I’d have been in that crowd, possibly listening, but more likely just waiting, biding my time, until His special helpers come around with baskets of food, as often happens at these big events.
Eventually, the discussion turns to prayer, and this is where I might have perked up. And having done so, I would hear this assurance, “Your Heavenly Father knows what you need before you even ask Him.”
August is the month for the last edition of MAD Magazine. I know that’s a strange fact to include in this blog about the Storehouse. But I do so because of the face of that magazine, which for years was the fictional, freckle-faced, snaggle-toothed, Alfred E. Newman. The magazine was satirical and often offensively irreverent, but Newman stands out in my memory, and is pertinent to today’s writing for his tag line. Remember it?
What, me worry?
And I must wonder if ol’ Albert might just have had more faith than me.
Our volunteers do not serve every week. Some of them do nearly every week. Others are in and out. But the day one of our clients passes completely out and falls from her chair in an unconscious mangled tangled mess, there are two Registered Nurses serving in the Storehouse.
Your Heavenly Father knows what you need before you even ask him….
And I want to believe this about everything Storehouse. We lost a freezer a couple weeks ago along with several pounds of meat. Or so it seemed. I was already calculating how much we could get for the scrap metal before it had completely defrosted. Apparently, it was merely in a bad mood from being over stuffed and having to stand so close to other freezers. So it’s back, and running at zero degrees.
Your Heavenly Father knows….
But, does He know how far and fast our food supply has dwindled? Feed the Need 2019 was amazing. So much food we borrowed warehouse space for weeks afterward. But all that is gone. The only thing we’ve got plenty of is cereal and tomato soup. But we’ve also received some substantial donations. We’re in a really good position to purchase food from the Food Bank. Because I guess,
Your Heavenly Father knows….
Why is this taking me so long to get? After all the evidence of the grace of Jesus in our Storehouse, why is it so hard for me to believe we’ll be okay, regardless of the food quantities, the temperature, the volunteers who suddenly can’t serve? Is this simply an indicator of how precious the Storehouse is? Birthday parties at the pool are all fun and games until it’s your own five-year-old climbing the steps to the high dive.
Yesterday, when we left for the day, both refrigerators and the cooler in the cold food room were empty and had been well before we served the last client. This has been the case for the last four serves. We just haven’t had enough of everything besides frozen meat to make it to the end of the serve.
Here’s a math problem: On the last four Thursdays, we’ve served 402 clients. Can you calculate the average?
And as I’m closing up the Storehouse, resetting the AC temperature, turning off the lights, I get a text. It’s my friend from First United Methodist Church. They have a food pantry too. They also pick up donated items from the Walmart in Greenbrier.
The text says, “Want a load of food tomorrow?”
They can’t use it. And they’ll deliver it. All I have to do is show up to accept it. Because, I guess…
My Heavenly Father knows.
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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