We arrived at 5:30...minutes before the doors were to open. We got in because we were workers, passing a long line cued up for the opening.
The opening? The evening of Restoration Church's weekly food pantry distribution.
Inside, the volunteers (all of them) were scurring over last minute preparations for the distribution....registration table, counseling prep, box pick up and weighing. All very focused...and no one cranky.
Soon the doors were opened and the space on the west side of the church suddenly became way too small...crowded with people coming to get assistance. Parents and children, people with walkers and canes, some on arm, some in uniforms.
There was no impatience, no akwardness. Instead, many of the longer term volunteers were calling the people coming to get food by name and joking with them.
A tall,handsome man stood at one of the tables and recited a portion of scripture while his daughter gazed on him in joyful expectation. His wife helped when he got stalled and he finished to the cheers of most in the room, as a worker disappeared and then reappeared with a quart of fancy ice cream - his reward for his memory work.
Before moving on he asked: "And what is the verse for next time?"
I sat with several counselors as they ministered to a woman, troubled by her home situation. Their wisdom, love and prayer, led to a visible transformation of her countenance. Seemed to me like Jesus had begun a work in her.
And so this continued, a literal beehive of energy and love...until everyone was fed and the parking lot was mostly empty in the darkness of the night. Close to 80 families ministered to..in the three hours of distribution.
And now the building looked and smelled like it had been well used. And the workers remaining were already focusing on next week's distribution..."probably biggest of the year," with over 300 families coming and in need.
"Now the day began to wear away (and the crowd was in great need). "You give them something to eat...Have them sit down in groups of about 50 each...and Jesus looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them...and they all ate and were satisfied." Luke 9:12-17