Thursday was Christmas. That's the thought that keeps coming to mind.
It was the last day of finals and school as the Christmas break began. At 12:00 noon,
three of the officers arrived at my house to load the 3400 non-perishables and toiletries that had been donated during the drive we held at Corbett. I saw God from the beginning. We were supposed to have two trucks, but at the last minute, one of the teens wasn't able to be there. Without knowing this, and before coming to my house, one of the other teens stopped at her house, her dad was home and she asked to use his truck for the day. God provides! We had the storage needed to transport all the items.
The three girls worked hard for 45 minutes loading all the items into both trucks (my
SUV was already full of the last load from Corbett). Then we caravaned to the hall. After the hard work loading, it was a relief to see 10 teens had already arrived and were ready to help unload. All immediately jumped to work unloading the trucks, as others arrived they quickly set down backpacks and got to work. Once unloaded, they put up chairs, arranged tables, unloaded the boxes and sorted the food into categories.
We took a quick break for lunch - Mattenga's Pizzeria donated the pizza, we had gift cards to Nothin' Bundt Cakes, and as a surprise the hall donated sodas. The sodas were in coolers behind the counter and one of the officers volunteered to serve others as they went through the line and all
the officers (on their own) checked to see if anyone needed anything and waited to get food until everyone else had gone through the line. The kids enjoyed hanging out for about 30 minutes then the officers ran through how the rest of the day would work. One of our board members is a pastor and led us in prayer, asking for blessing on the work, the teens serving and the families being served.
The San Antonio Food Bank arrived and unloaded pallets with 11,000 pounds of assorted meats, coconut, onions, papaya, limes, cranberries, tea, bread and an assortment of additional fresh produce (strawberries, blueberries, celery and much more). The teens calculated how many of each item families would receive and started an assembly line to create the food packages. They worked quickly and were well prepared as the families started to arrive.
The families were greeted, directed to select items from the non-perishable and assorted perishable section. Parent after parent took their time carefully looking through the items and making their selections. While the parents shopped, the children colored and visited with Santa. First United Bank donated cheese and meat trays for the families to enjoy a snack. When the family was ready, two teens picked up a box with approximately 50 pounds of meat, produce and tea and loaded into the cars.
While some teens worked in the food delivery, others were busy cleaning up; breaking down empty boxes, sweeping the floor, wiping down tables, etc.
We served approximately 150 families with close to 500 family members. Two families walked several blocks and we drove them home with their groceries. We heard story after story that grabbed at your heart of the circumstances behind the needs. The families were grateful and I think all walked away knowing someone cared for them. I hope and pray they saw Jesus through our service.
Everyone worked hard until we wrapped up at 7:30 p.m.; always with a smile on their face, asking what else they could do and excited to help. I knew we'd made a difference in the lives of the teens when one of the seniors shared she and another senior had talked about being home from college next year in time to serve as alumni in the food giveaway.
Thank YOU for supporting this group. YOU are a blessing to us. I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve with you and the teens.
I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas.
(click on pictures to enlarge)