Mid Summer Shout Out: Gratitude and Grace in a Hot Soup Kitchen

Dearest Friends of Caring Hands,

  I was working on an overdue reply to our treasurer when I realized it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give a mid-summer shout-out.  Besides it’s hot, and this is a good excuse to stay on the cool mountain and use the computer at home.  The one in the church office is dead.  So, all ya’ll fork up a few bucks each, put it together and buy us a new computer, please.  I want an Apple.
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Okay.  Enough with the extortion.  Let me get to the news.  The only explanation for this summer is Divine Intervention!  Grace is everywhere, and it helps to have amazing volunteers. They are pulling off miracle after miracle.  Plus, we have two great interns from the YWCA working with us this summer, Kami and Jasmonay.
One of them will answer the phone when you call, very professionally, I might add. They’re also keeping their eyes on all the donations coming and going, and I don’t know how they’re doing it.  Some days–it feels like a madhouse.

Yesterday between the soup kitchen and our gig with Family, we served 297 meals, including: 75 kids and their teen counselors at the Community Center, and 75 special lunches for the kids and their counselors at the YMCA.  The kids at the YMCA went on a  field trip, so we packed 82 turkey sandwiches on whole wheat and put them in baggies, and I bought them some clementines and some Sun chips. We are trying hard to get the amounts right, but I always want them to have more than they need, to feel God’s abundance. Too many of them already understand deprivation.

 I’ve worked out a deal with the manager at one of the local stores, and I’m going to start getting bulk fruit (and better prices for it) –hopefully with lots of donations peppered in.  The grocer round the corner has these interesting, organic Chia seed, banana strawberry thingies in a tube, and the kids at the Community Center love them.  Yesterday, I put them in the freezer before sending them out because I thought the only thing better than banana strawberry in the summer would be frozen banana strawberry.  I’ll soon find out how that went.

                                                                                                                                                           We’ve been serving lots of watermelon and fresh, raw zucchini and carrot sticks with Ranch dressing, and between us friends–the kids at the Y are pickier than the kids at the Community Center–but we don’t hold that against them; we just sigh and roll our eyes occasionally in the kitchen when it’s too hot.  It helps that our ministry intern and recent Yale Divinity grad turned groom, Kevin, is an answer to prayer–and he leads one every morning. Starting with prayer always makes it better.

I’ve also been most grateful for the opportunity to watch one of Family of Woodstock’s secret weapons at work: Megan!  Megan is such a smart, compassionate, down right fabulous young woman…who has been teaching me things about the fine art of leadership all summer.  She’s really the reason things are running smoothly; she and Chef Dave.  And that’s another reason for this update.  Chef Dave is having surgery as I write this.  He’ll be in the hospital for a few days, and I’m sure he’d appreciate our prayers, love and support.
                                                                                                                                                           Because of his absence, we’ll be working a bit harder to keep things running smoothly–so stop by and volunteer a few hours one of these days.  We’ve always got something that needs to be cleaned!  And keep us in your thoughts and prayers when you can.
With grace and real gratitude,
Darlene
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