You probably know something about our food pantry and clothing closet ministries. You may even know that there are ways you can help with these important ministries. But sometimes just knowing you can help isn’t that helpful. You want details, specifics, anecdotes. So, here is the first in a series titled Food Pantry 101. Our series will include the clothing closet too.
The morning in the life of me, Jane Dough, on my first day as a bread pick-up person:
7:00 am – woke up and thanked God for another glorious day.
8:00 am – coffee. breakfast.
10:00 am – arrived at HyVee Bettendorf to pick up the donated bread and (on this day) some sweets. Based on my experience, here’s what yours might look like:
First, you take a cart from the cart corral inside the store. Take two carts if you have a helper with you. My helper was a nine year old. Steer your carts to the back of the store, in between the bakery and the meat counter. If you’re like me, you ask an employee just to be sure you are headed down the right hallway. That nice worker (a helpful smile in every aisle, after all), will most likely walk you to the place where the bread and sweets are waiting. If you are a nine year old, you will be quite impressed with having a back-stage pass to HyVee. Not everyone gets to go back-stage of a grocery store – just cool people igniting passion for Jesus by feeding the hungry. You’re like a VIJF – very important Jesus follower. Just saying.
Back to the bread. You load up your cart or carts with the bread and sweets. It may be tempting to take the carts that the sweets and bread are already in, and run them out to the parking lot. But let me stop you from an embarrassing situation and tell you that you don’t want to do this. The carts used by the staff are specially marked carts that are not allowed to leave the back-stage of the store. So, load up the goods in your own red-handled carts and push them out to your car. Admire all of the sideway looks you get with your carts full of carbs. Smile and say ‘hi’ like we did.
Once to your car, take the time to think like a puzzle solver. It’s good for the brain. (Really, you just want to get all the bread into your car.) You know your car and how things fit best, so just go with it. Go back in the store, if necessary, and repeat the process.
Drive your car to All Saints, and on the way, take time to pray for the folks who will be receiving this food. May their bodies and souls be nourished not only by the food, but by the love of All Saints’ people. Once at church, park in the back. Remove all bread and sweets from your car (someone may be there to help you unload), and set them on the tables in the front hall. Then you can start loading up the shelves with breads. If you are a nine year old, you pretend you are stocking the shelves of a grocery store.
11:30ish – you’re done. Give yourself a pat on the back! Can you see yourself doing this occasionally, even once a month? Bonnie Strittmater is happy to answer any questions you might have, and she wants to find a Saturday morning that works for you.
You can be the next Jane or John Dough. Just be ready to feel good about feeding hungry people, you VIJF.