It was 12:30 on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We had just finished putting away the thousands of pounds of food which had arrived that morning and the morning before, packing it into bags and boxes, loading the wagons with the life-giving food assistance that would go out the side door for families who had just started to pull into line. At the front door we had stocked turkeys, boxes of fixings, and huge boxes of produce. Our afternoon shift of smiling volunteers was just coming in the door when my phone rang. “I am a manager at Trader Joes. Your pantry is the only one that takes flowers with their food pickup. Would you be able to use 10 cases of flowers?” “I’ll send someone right over,” I replied. Jason returned with 120 gorgeous bouquets of sunflowers – enough that every guest and volunteer would be able to take one home for their Thanksgiving table. We were giving thanks to God.
God has provided these beautiful flowers today. I am sure He knew you were coming. All afternoon and evening we delivered flowers to each guest family and received beautiful smiles of thanksgiving in return. Early in the evening, I went down the line of cars receiving their monthly allotment. I noticed a car with an elderly woman gazing down and cradling the flowers in her lap as if they were a precious infant. I said, “You look like you really like those flowers.” She hesitated a moment before she looked up. Tears streaming down her cheek, she said, “I lost my husband, and I thought I would never get flowers again.” “Happy Thanksgiving!” I said and continued, “God has provided these beautiful flowers today. I am sure He knew you were coming".
Where are you going for Thanksgiving?” “I am going to be with my family,” she replied. “How about if I give you another bouquet so you can bring one to them and have another at home to remind you of your husband’s love?” Her eye lit up with gratitude.
She began to share her story. This was her first visit to us. Things had been very hard since her husband recently passed away. She then added, she was not sure they would have a turkey at her extended family’s home. I smiled and said, “God provided for that, too! At the front door, we will load a turkey and all the fixings you need for your Thanksgiving dinner.” She smiled and shed more tears – this time of gratitude. After we loaded her car, I asked if I could pray for her. She said “Oh yes! That would be wonderful!”
During this time of stress and strife in our country, it is wonderful to know we have built an organization of tremendously generous hands that care for others who are struggling, no matter the color, race, age, or political party of either the guest or the volunteer. We work together to deliver help with an empathetic, caring attitude that lifts the hearts and minds of all who engage with us. Even the retailers who share their excess know we care about those we serve, making us the first call when they have extras.
As this year comes to an end, I want to give thanks for all of you. By volunteering, donating funds, food and necessary items, you give dignity and support to those among us who are struggling. If you have not yet sent in a year end donation, it is not too late to help us create wonderful blessings in more lives. Click this link feedinghandspantry.org/donate for online donation or information to mail a check to Feeding Hands.