This week’s serve was a menagerie of disparate events.
It started in team meeting with my relating a voicemail that had been left on our machine in the office by a client. Her call was not pertaining to her own recent visit, but her daughter’s. I’d classify this particular client as a person who does a great job at protecting her heart. Kinda tough on the outside, and doesn’t indicate need or vulnerability, even when she’s visiting the pantry for food she needs.
I wasn’t surprised to hear her words of gratitude for the Storehouse. We hear that quite a bit from clients, and have heard it from her, too. But her gratitude was centered on how well we’d served her daughter. Apparently, on the hour long ride to her home, her daughter had shared her amazement at how kind everyone had been to her and how tenderly and gracefully she’d been treated. Mom became more emotional as the message went on.
The grace of our King Jesus, through ,our volunteers had touched her daughter’s heart, and it was almost more than her mom’s heart could bear.
Much later in the day, we actually had a mom and daughter shop in the pantry together. A volunteer found me to share what had been going on in the dry food room. She had witnessed the daughter shopping, while the mom secretly stashed food items in bags she’d brought with her.
We stood outside the cold food room. “Is that them?” I asked. Our Case Management staff knows this duo well. They are homeless and deal with a bit of mental illness and drug addiction. My heart wanted to approach the mom and make her open her bags. I sometimes find myself falling into the “grace for me, law for everybody else” trap believers can so easily slip into.
I don’t understand why they both weren’t shopping. Our rule for households is that only one person per household can shop. We strive to steward every precious food donation to feed as many households as possible. But do two people in a tent or a big cardboard box constitute a household? This will definitely be a bullet point at our next pre-serve team meeting.
A client asked about hoses for a washing machine. “I have a machine at home; we just don’t have any hoses.” The last time my home needed washer hoses, I just went down to Lowes and bought them. But our clients don’t have resources like I do. Nor the same opportunities.
I could have sworn I remembered seeing a pair of hoses left behind in a part of the campus we no longer occupy. I was right, and another need was met.
Later, we served a transgender female. Our volunteer called the masculine name written on the shopping card. She said it more like a question, with a quizzical look on her face.
“That’s my legal name,” the client replied in a noticeably husky voice while gazing at the floor.
Our personal shopper smiled, caught his eyes with hers and said, “Come on, let’s start shopping.” And they disappeared into the hygiene room.
It is our great hope to serve each one of our clients in such a way that any of their mommas could leave a voicemail on our machine, through tears, about how well their child had been treated and cared for in the Storehouse.
Then a man I’d never met walked up, shook my hand, and said he was from another pantry here in town located in one of our city’s churches. He just wanted to come by and see how we serve clients. I took him on a tour and several times he expressed amazement at what we do. It was his first time to visit a client choice pantry, where clients don’t get a pre-packaged box of food, but actually shop as though in a store.
The coolest moment came when we were in the cold food room. It’s chaos in there, but every person of the group (sometimes ten or eleven people) knows what’s happening and what they’re doing. I explained that shopping and grocery bagging happens here. “And then, a volunteer offers to pray for our clients.”
As if on cue, a volunteer bowed his head with a client. There, in the midst of chaos, two people stood before the throne of grace.
We have served exactly 400 clients in four serves. I don’t know if there is a hungry person in Faulkner County who is aware of the StoreHouse that hasn’t already been served by us in October. But we’ll find out next Thursday, on Halloween night. The ladies softball team from Central Baptist College will be our night crew so our regular volunteers can serve at holiday events at their churches, or accompany children as they trick-or-treat, or just rest.
By the way, if you’re reading this in your browser, over on the right > you’ll see a link to our Amazon Wish List. We’ve fancified that spot. I’d love for you to just check it out. If you do decide to gift us, please go to smile.amazon.com for that. You can choose the Ministry Center as a recipient and then Amazon will send us a little of the purchase price. A double blessing!
Thank you so for loving and supporting our clients. You’ve blessed them in countless ways.
I am the Storehouse Director and get the privilege of writing about the people that Jesus loves.
Contact Mike Rush at email@example.com for all things "Volunteer".
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