CLM MONTHLY COLUMN
|Posted on February 24, 2015 at 12:45 AM|
MISSION POSSIBLE: The Stories I've Seen
By Kaye Clark, Volunteer for CLM Food Pantry and member of the Thelma Matthews Social Services Committee
Their stories are as varied as much as their appearances; however, one thing they all have in common is - they need food to survive. The mission of the Center for Lay Ministries Food Pantry is to subsidize our client’s food supply. The shelves of the Pantry are stocked by donations from the community. In addition to the pantry food, the client can receive Dare to Care Emergency food four times a year. The Center also gives a nominal amount toward rent/utilities when certain criteria are met. Some share their stories with the volunteers and some are silent as they gather their food. As a volunteer, many clients have touched my heart and this is one of my days at the pantry.
A newly homeless young man had just spent his first night sleeping outside in a tent. He tells me he can cook food over an open fire. He was dressed in a hoodie so he was given a blanket and pair of brown cotton gloves. He is grateful.
A nicely dressed lady, in her 50’s, was here with her grown daughter, who was very thin and also nicely dressed. The daughter’s hair was very neatly tucked into a bun and her gaunt looking face showed the application of only foundation make-up. The mother explained that her daughter needed help selecting food for a special diet because the doctor said the daughter had to watch what she was eating as she was healing from a severe organ injury as a result of domestic violence.
A first timer to the Center arrives. It is a young woman in her mid to late 30’s who blushes as she enters the pantry. She utters, “Bet you don’t get many people in here with a Bachelor’s degree.” Sensing her embarrassment, I immediately replied “You’d be surprised, we once had a client who had made a 6 figure income when he was younger.
Next to arrive was an older woman in her late 40’s, very neat in appearance. She didn’t have a lot to say. Then when we went to weigh her food she said “I’d like to give you a hug, if you won’t mind.” I gave her a nice hug as she thanked us for helping her. Reflecting on what she said, it’s sad to think people feel so inferior when they have to come to the Pantry for help.
Later, I helped woman who said she was 70 years old. She began to cry as she said she never expected to come to a pantry for food. She thanked me as each item was selected for her cart. She was sincerely appreciative, as if we were giving her an unexpected precious Christmas gift.
Another very slender, well-dressed younger woman in her 30’s with very neat dark hair came in toward the end of my day. She was wearing a short wool jacket with a matching scarf bundled around her neck. She mentioned her job as we shopped for her food for herself and her two teenage children. Even working, she couldn’t afford enough food for two growing teenagers.
“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” [I John 3:17].
The Center has seen a large increase in the number of people coming in for help in 2014 and 2015 doesn’t look to be much different. The Center desperately needs additional individual/church/community/business/school/civic organization/corporate support to continue providing for the needy in the community.
If these stories have touched your heart, please consider a food or monetary donation, or ask your employer to consider a food drive on an on-going basis. Contact Bonnie or Greg at the Center: 812-282-0063 (website: www.center4layministries.com) for more information.