How to Show Love? At a Food Pantry (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, February 21, 2014

feeding the community

How to Show Love? At a Food Pantry  (Feature Friday!)

Unemployment. Food stamps cut. Lack of jobs. (Sounds more and more like the daily newspaper or news website, doesn’t it?) Some people in some places already do something about it—like at the Soddy-Daisy Food Bank. The Food Bank has its beginnings in 1989. A group of people from Daisy United Methodist Church and Soddy United Methodist Church (from Soddy-Daisy, a small town about a dozen miles from Chattanooga, Tennessee) joined together. They started the Food Bank to feed about a dozen families.

From these humble beginnings, the Food Bank’s outreach and ministry to hungry families and individuals has grown; during 2013, 370 families per month received food. Six churches are now involved—including United Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal and Catholic churches. The Soddy-Daisy Food Bank is now an ecumenical ministry for the larger community. Open twice a week on Monday afternoons and Thursday mornings, the Food Bank offers foods from the major food groups (including produce!) and on Mondays the regular services of a certified nutritionist associated with the University of Tennessee.

This feature wants to focus specifically on Daisy United Methodist Church and its pastor, C. Don Jones. He considers getting involved with the local community around his church to be an important part of his larger ministry. He leads by example and encourages his church members and friends to get involved, as well. Pastor Don has had a strong commitment to the Food Bank for years, working there on a regular basis. He’s one of eighty volunteers who serve 70% of the people in northern Hamilton County, Tennessee that the USDA describes as “Food Insecure.” Every distribution day begins with prayer for the clients and the workers. About 400 orders go out each month with an estimated 1600 people being fed.

But let Pastor Don speak for himself:

September 26, 2013: “Today at the food bank we served 37 families and jump started two vehicles. One family asked me (I was wearing my Daisy UMC “ask me” shirt) if we could help with their electric bill. I told her we could. Someone told the family, ‘we say bad things about him, but he’s a pretty decent guy.’” [about which Pastor Don received additional humorous ribbing on his Facebook page.]

October 31, 2013: “Today I am thankful for the ability to help at the Food Bank and to not need its services.”

November 7, 2013: “November 1st. Food Stamps are cut to pay for bailouts of financial sector, unnecessary wars, and new subsidies to the insurance industry. This week Soddy Daisy Food Bank serves 131 families. Eight were turned away today for lack of food. Hopefully they will have something Monday. Folks, this is wrong!”

February 6, 2014: “Food Bank day. I recall the words of Dom Helder Caldera. ‘When I give food to the poor I am called a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food I am called a communist.’ His point was simple. No one wants to think about the issue.”

Few people want to think about the Food Bank (indeed, any food pantry!) until they need its services. Perhaps that’s a prudent reason to consider giving to a food pantry or related ministry near you? Give because we can. Give because people have needs. And most important, give because giving from a sincere and loving heart can be giving to the glory of God.


The Usual Monday

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, January 13, 2014

The Usual Monday

What do I do when I have the usual day? It’s not only a regular, ordinary weekday, but the usual Monday. Yes, I did have a number of things to do, but not any more than the ordinary Monday. A better question is what kind of service can I find to do? Or, what kind of service will God show me today?

I often hear a good deal of belly-aching about Mondays. People moan and groan about going back to work after a weekend off. The same with Facebook, and occasionally on Tumblr (those I follow on Tumblr). I don’t particularly mind Mondays. But then, I don’t dislike my job. What did rankle a bit were these same people, making the same posts or memes or comments about Fridays. “TGIF!”

Here’s why it rankled. Up until only a few months ago, I worked on weekends. Almost every weekend, for some years. So when many other people were gearing up for a wild weekend, I was getting ready to go to work. I hardly ever minded. I enjoyed that job, too! Very much, as a matter of fact. One big difference is the attitude I bring to my work. My attitude is positive (usually), and that makes all the difference.  Colossians 3:23 reads “Do your work heartily, as for the Lord, rather than for men.” I realize these words are delivered to slaves or servants. But, am I not a servant of God? Moreover, when I took on this challenge for A Year of Being Kind, I regularly pray for God to show me ways of service. Each day. Isn’t following Colossians 3:23 also a wonderful opportunity of making myself of service?

To elaborate on this attitude of ingratitude, I know a few people who have jobs they do not care for. Their attitude toward their work is, sadly, negative and even depressing. A few years ago, one of my relatives was in this position. Thankfully, their situation has turned around. Now, things are looking up. Their attitude is much brighter. I suspect their work is much more enjoyable now, too!

Today, my specific act of service encompasses an errand. Going to the pharmacy for someone in my acquaintance. I went today to pick up several things, and when I returned, the senior really appreciated it. And, I happened to be there when the person the senior lived with called from work. This person was also grateful and gave me a sincere thank you, too.

What a small thing for me to do! I had two happy, grateful people giving me thanks. Their kind words not only warmed my heart, but also encouraged me to continue to look for acts of service. I’m not saying that every act needs to be praised. (I’m reminded of my children when they were younger. They regularly got stickers when they did something praiseworthy at school.)  No! I don’t want smiley stickers when I drive on errands or go to the store. However, I strive every day to do all (or, as much as I can) to the glory of God.

God, is this one of the things You were thinking of, when You gave me this idea of 365 days of service? I think, yes.


from Beauty for Ashes

from Beauty for Ashes