Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Food Pantry Volunteers

On the first and third Tuesday mornings (as well as on the 2nd Saturday) of each month the cafe and food pantry at the community center comes alive with activity. Volunteers begin arriving at 7:00 am to begin to set up and turn on the coffee pot. Donated pastries from Panera Bread begin to arrive and by 8:30 there is a small line in front of the door.

Shannon Papp or Jen Adams informs the volunteers of upcoming events or anything special that is going to happen at the pantry that day and Mark Swartz prays us in.

Unlike the early days when guests would rush in do to the fear that there just might not be enough they now come on their own schedule and almost everyone sits down and enjoys a cup of coffee and a little bit of conversation. Today, like most days there is much laughter and joy.

Fred Tschida who ran Ko-op 65 before MC3 renovated the building still shows up early. He and a few others stood in the gap for years many times using their social security and retirement to help buy food for hungry people. Even though he is not feeling 100% as he fights an illness he still engages in friendly banter with many of the guests (and volunteers) before he helps them check out.

Hardie Blake and James Summers from Project Impact stopped by to visit. They were sharing of the exciting things they are doing on the far west side with vocational training and job placement.

On his way out the door at the end of the day, Mike Swartz was sharing how much it means to him to be able to serve at MC3.
"I always leave with more joy, happiness and contentment when I leave than when I arrive - no matter how much I try to give away God always seems to give more back. This place, these people mean so much to me!"

We've been talking about what it would take to open the cafe to the public each day for a few hours. Guests could enjoy a cup of coffee or cold drink, a pastry, engage he conversation with business people and city employees on their way to work, maybe login to the internet or have a small group study.

Better days are ahead because good people stepped in and we serve a great God!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan--

I was at 2nd Saturday this weekend (I was the blonde unloading the carts onto the table at the food distribution spot). I saw a woman who I know through work. I am an RN working at Memorial in the Pediatric ICU. Her youngest child, 2 yrs. old, has been on our unit for three weeks in extremely critical condition. When she arrived she had a 7-10% chance of survival. Praise God she is still fighting on but by no means out of the woods yet. This single mother has a full time job and three other children at home. She is currently on a FMLA to stay with her children during this horrible and trying time. She arrived at Monroe Circle at two minutes after 11am on Saturday and was turned away because she was late. (She is registered) I fully understand that there are rules and quidelines in place for very good reasons, but it has weighed heavily on my heart since. Of any of the people we saw on Saturday, she was certainly in as much need as any of them. Is there anything that we can do for her? She is a gracious and proud young woman and shrugged the situation off. It was difficult for her to come in at all. She figures that there are other people who need the help more than she does and she was in a very high mood Saturday morning because her childs condition was looking up. Sadly, it took a turn for the worse that night, so I am even more concerned for her now. I have been given her permission to share with you what I have, and I am hoping that the church can step up to help her as they have vowed to do in becoming a figure in that neighborhood. Are there exceptions that can be made for extraordinary circumstances? Please feel free to contact me. My name is Melissa Haddix and my e-mail address is m.haddix@sbcglobal.net. You can also reach me at work today and tomorrow until 7:30pm at 647-7426. Thank you so much and God bless!