Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Feeding Bodies while Feeding Souls

 I have no idea how this happened, but it did.  I am feeding people.

It started last year when a friend of mine from another church emailed me and asked if I'd mind rounding up some people at my church and feeding the students at the college mission two meals one week a month.  I said sure!

It was a harder endeavor than I'd anticipated.  The first two meals I did on my own and out of my own pocket (though I had some help with cooking and setting it all out).  It was a learning experience.  The next time, I'd managed to enlist some help and for half a year, a few of us would take a portion of the meal and bring that, set up together and eat with them.  It was a bit of a struggle though, to get people to volunteer.  I was a bit relieved when summer rolled around and we weren't doing meals anymore.

Time kept passing and soon enough, fall and the start of the new school year was right around the corner, so I contacted the priest there and asked if they were planning to do the same thing again this year.  They were, so I went to work on our women's group at the church.

They voted to donate $100 for the weeks that we were preparing food for the students.  I got some volunteers too.

Then something unexpected happened.  One of our parishoners donated $500 toward feeding those students!  We could relax the $50/meal rule (though I still view that as a challenge!) a bit, especially if the number of students increased.  I was so touched that he would do that.  Then, people started volunteering to cook and serve.  Last month, I didn't have to go over there at all - other people took care of it!

All of the students are very appreciative.  They come into the kitchen before dinner, while I'm setting things out, and when dinner's over to thank me and whoever is with me for providing them with a good meal.

When people ask, I tell them - an entree, a salad and/or vegetable, bread and if the spirit moves you, some kind of dessert.  Make sure there's plenty.  We have someone who is gluten-free and a couple of vegetarians, so I try to make sure there's something there that everyone can eat.  Tonight's dinner was chicken tetrazzini, garlic bread, salad, and gluten-free carrot cake (with a regular pound cake as an alternative).  It disappeared.

With the economy the way it is, I know some of these students are holding down multiple jobs in addition to going to school just to make ends meet.  I feel like providing them with a couple of meals a month is the least I can do for the young people who are the future of my church.

It's not just college students that need to eat!  Every week, our youth group has dinner together as well.  I did dinner this week - hamburgers, veggie burgers, mac and cheese, baked beans, and chips.  It's a little easier to find volunteers to feed these kids.  There's only about 10 of them all told (the college students number between 20 and 25).  My friend LaVerne helped me get everything set up and ready for them.

Feeding so many people is a lot of work, but very rewarding.  And it makes hosting a holiday meal for my family look like a walk in the park!


Sandy said...

What a kind and generous soul you are! I am sure that not only are these students grateful but also that the students that these kids will feed in the future will also thank and bless you!

Island Rider said...

Yeah! Feeding others is a basic principal of Jesus' teaching. And the way to a person's heart is through their stomach!

Pamela said...

where from comes the energy... wow.
I'm amazed

karmyn R said...

You are the 3rd story I've read now about feeding someone....

The Lutheran church that allows our Boy Scout Troop to meet sends us their newsletter....after 30 years of serving food to the homeless youth, one lady is stepping down. 30 years!!!

Another story was in our local paper - when her 75 yr old husband died, the next door neighbor brought her dinner....and then continued to provide it for the next 20 years.

I am awed by their dedication....yours too!!!

Nikki said...

You are a good soul my friend.

Jill said...

what a crazy fun day it must be, so rewarding, even when it's hard.

when we were in the younger youth group (jr high) every parent took turns providing dinner for the 5 pm crowed. Eventually it got to be about 30 kids and I think 2 parents started splitting it! My mom, always being the thrifty one, made big casseroles, pots of spaghetti, hot dogs with crescent rolls wrapped around them, along with tea or koolaid etc. Nearly every other parent provided frozen pizzas and soda. I tell you, the kids dove into that 'homemade' food like they were starving!

it's a good thing you're doing!