A woman came into the food pantry today. She is one of our regulars. Every time she comes in and I am here, we end up talking for awhile. I feel as though through our visits I have gotten to know a little about her situation. Today she came almost in tears. She shared that after 40 years, she had divorced her abusive husband and currently had a restraining order on him. Things were tight, but she had taken a courageous step for her and her grandson who lived with them. Each time she had been in before today, she always shared how much she hated coming in. You could hear the defeat and frustration in her voice. I have spent many times telling her that we are here for people like her. She is the reason we are here. Today walked in a different woman. Dressed and groomed well, she held a new confidence. She finally could explain the burden that she carried. We prayed together before she left. We thanked God for giving her the courage to do what was necessary for her grandson. We asked for courage for the road ahead. Today, she didn’t come in just for groceries. She came to be heard. She came for prayer. She came be connected with Christ’s body.
This is often the story of those who visit our food pantry. They don’t stand silently as they receive help. They reach out to be heard. They share about their struggles with disabilities and unexpected medical problems. The talk about how they are serving as the safety net for family and friends who have found themselves homeless. They share their frustrations of having teenage kids who complain about not having the name brand things that their peers have, and about how they are trying to do what is right by paying their utility bills before those things.Some of them sit among us on Sunday morning. Some of them are involved with KICK. Many of them hold burdens we have no idea are there.
When people come to our food pantry, we don’t just feed their stomachs. We feed their souls. We listen to their stories and pray for them. We encourage them to walk more like Jesus. We help them to feed those extra house members when they open their homes and hearts to those in need. We encourage them to persevere. We pray with them, and remind them that even in hard times, God walks with them.
Here we feed souls. And today I thank God for giving us that opportunity.