The other day a woman and her young daughter stopped by the Ft. Gibson UM Church when the community Ladies ‘N Stiches group was having lunch. The woman said she had noticed the cars at the church every Tuesday and wondered if we had Food Bank open that day. We invited them to have lunch with us which she declined and I took her out to the Blessing Box which had been restocked that morning. She took a few items and asked her daughter if there was anything she wanted and she shook her head as there was nothing that really appealed to children. I invited the little girl to come and look at what else we might have that she would like. We filled a bag with items she chose – cereal, individual mac & cheese bowls, Ramen noodles, a Dolly Parton cake mix, and some snacks. Seeing the smile on her face made my day!
As a single mom, raising three children on my own, I remember how difficult it was to keep enough food on hand, especially in the summer. Snacks especially had to be “rationed” so they would last more than a day. God always provided and we never went hungry but we didn’t always have the extras that other families had.
We all know how high the cost of food is today and many families do not have the means to provide enough food for themselves or their families. With children out of school and not receiving free breakfast and lunch each day, parents may struggle even more to feed their families. Many elderly grandparents on fixed incomes have children in their care and find it difficult to feed them in the summer.
So here is my summer challenge for all of us (myself included) – if you pass by a Blessing Box and see that it is empty, or only has staples such as rice, beans, vegetables, pick up some kid-friendly items at the store (cereal, cereal bars, microwavable mac ‘n cheese, ravioli or spaghetti, applesauce, crackers, cookies, baby and toddler food, etc.) and place them in the Box. Other items that may also be helpful are soap, shampoo, toothpaste, children’s books, sticker books, toys…what can you think of that would make a child happy? If you have children or grandchildren, let them shop for items. This is a great way to teach them about compassion for others. (Remember, the Blessing Boxes get HOT so anything that would melt would not be a good idea.) Let’s bless the children in our communities and the parents/grandparents who are caring for them this summer.
Grace and peace,
NOTE: Pastor Pam Sutherland’s charges include Fort Gibson United Methodist Church, Castlewood, VA and St. Paul United Methodist Church, St. Paul, VA.