Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Feeding the Hungry in the Rain

It takes a dedicated team to brave all kinds of weather to feed the hungry. We were grateful to serve with such a group last Thursday, when the remnants of a hurricane were delivering rain to Wilmington, DE. A small team from Cornerstone United Methodist Church in Bear DE prepares soup and sandwiches, drives them to Wilmington, and feeds anyone who comes to Christina Park at 6 PM every Thursday evening. They started several years ago, when four men from Cornerstone hatched the idea over breakfast. They’ve been serving supper every week since, except once when the roads were shut down because of a snowstorm.

It’s a pretty simple operation. All it needs is a truck, some tables and chairs, a folding canopy, a few coolers (with sandwiches and cold water), bags of cookies, spoons, napkins, bowls, and a large propane burner and soup kettle. The team of about six volunteers usually sets up all the tables and chairs, and leads informal Bible study as people sit and enjoy their supper. Last week, because of the rain, they only set up a couple of serving tables under the canopy.

When we arrived a half-hour early, guests had already begun assembling in the park. By the end of the serving hour, about 25 people had been served. This was fewer than normal because it was early in the month (close to the time that SSI checks come in) and because many regular guests had already gone to the shelters, which had opened early to provide refuge from the storm. Most guests were men, but there were women, young children, and teenagers, too.

All of the guests appeared to need and be grateful for the food provided. Many appeared to be homeless, and some took extra food to share with those camped near them. Some of the guests have housing, but, as one guest told us, cannot pay the rent and utilities and still have enough money left to eat.

We were humbled by the grace and consistency with which this team served from their Thursday soup truck and the fact that they do far, far more than just offer soup and sandwiches to those in need. Once a month, they offer bags of toiletries. In the winter, they bring coats and hats. They get to know the folks who come, help with finding housing or other services, and freely offer prayer and good fellowship.

No comments:

Post a Comment