Do you know how you fed the hungry today? Those of you who partner with us truly did. Let me tell you how. In June, we had part of one of our Hurricane relief volunteer groups from FBC Jefferson City, Missouri help with a Kids Camp at an apartment complex made up of refugee and immigrant families. They provided swimming lessons, crafts, games and just “regular old fun” to beat the heat and humidity during that week. We had over 60 children participate. This was an expansion of our outreach in this community, since we had just finished our first semester of the Ready for School program for 3-4 yr. old refugee children. The management was so happy about the results of all of these events that they have given us the go ahead to do just about anything there now.
OK. Back to the hunger thing.
Last weekend, the leader of the Missouri group got a text from one of the mothers who had children in the summer program. I went to visit her this week. Here is her story: She is from Honduras. One night a gang came to their home and threatened to kill the whole family if they didn’t get out right then and not come back. Apparently, they made their way here two years ago. I asked the oldest teenaged son where his father was. He stated that his father almost beat his mother to death and is now in prison here for at least two years. She works the night shift at a potato chip factory. She has five children trying to provide for. Her English is minimal and lets her son translate when she doesn’t understand. It seems that she had an accident at work and had to miss two months of work. She received a small amount from her work during her absence but barely enough to pay just a few bills, not even her rent. There was no furniture in the living/dining room other than a few chairs. The lights were not on, so I wondered if the electric bill had been paid. Quietly, she turned to me and just simply asked if I could help buy some food for the children. I explained to her that I had some gift cards that people had donated that I could give her. I found out she doesn’t have a car and has to ride the bus everywhere or walk. I asked if she would like for me to take her to the store to buy some groceries. She gave a slight smile and agreed to go. So she, along with one of the teenage boys and another boy probably around 6 came with me. I had cards for WalMart and HEB. I suggested that she get non-perishable items at the first store and perishable items at the second. I told her that I had cards for a total of $200 and let her pick out her items. She was very hesitant at first. I’m sure it was the first time she was able to get this much stuff for her family in a long time. When it came to a few items, I showed her that the store brand was cheaper which would allow her to get more. After purchasing the items we loaded up the truck and headed back to her home.
Upon our arrival with the groceries you could see the smiles get bigger and bigger on the children’s faces. True, sincere thanks were expressed by all, but especially by the mother. I explained to her that this was a blessing from God provided by people from various churches. As I was leaving, I prayed with the family and then left another gift card for next month. Also, I was able to tell her about the backpacks with supplies we will be receiving next week, and that I would bring some over for the children.