Friday, February 10, 2012
All we need
For the past several years, we (YWAM Modesto and some partnering agencies) have been picking up day old bread and pastries from a local grocery store. This has been a great resource for us as it has given us a touch point with which to meet people. This pick up has served recovery homes, a drop in center, a couple of community food pantries, multiple congregations, bread lines and our own little 9th Street Cafe.
Sometimes there's been little and sometimes there's been a lot but we've tried to be faithful to pick it up and not let this resource, that would otherwise be thrown away, go to waste. This has been a topic of some discussion for our team. Is taking food to people enabling poor choices? Are we just another bread line in the eyes of the people we serve and are trying to get to know? Do they know that we value friendship more than free food? Is the cost of picking it up worth what folks get out of it?
We have chosen to keep picking the bread up as it truly does bless the South 9th Street community. We have done our best to let people know that the Cafe we set up most Fridays is about more than the food. We seek to understand. We want to listen. We want friendship. And we want to bring things that will refresh, ease the hardship of life and be a source of comfort.
We've even made a popular game out of the "too hard for human consumption" bagels. Who doesn't like a good old fashioned game of bagel toss?
This past week, the option to pick this bread up came to an end and I must admit, I was nervous about how our Cafe friends would take the absence of free bread and pastries. I wondered if coffee and us would be enough. My fears were quite unfounded.
First of all, we had plenty of things to share today. I thought I'd help a little by making up a simple pot of hot oatmeal to serve with brown sugar and raisins from our pantry.
It doesn't look very appetizing there in the pot but let me tell you, it was good and people ate it up! A few friends donated some clothes for us to give out...
And other friends brought about 5 boxes of bread and homemade brownies and muffins to share!
As it turned out, no one missed a thing. I was reminded of a line from a song off the soundtrack to "The Prince of Egypt" that says, "When all you have is nothing, there's a lot to go around." Everyone brought something from home to share and there was more than enough for all. There were full bellies, happy conversations, prayers offered, needs met and friendship in abundance. And if the time comes when all that's in the van is us, that'll be enough too.