Walking the Walk
An icy gust of wet wind blasted my face when I opened the back door. I’d be lying if I told you that bailing out hadn’t crossed my mind.
This was way out of my comfort zone, and I felt like I was being yanked by an invisible leash down a path I didn’t want to tread. Don’t get me wrong, I’d been a semi-do-gooder most of my adult life, faithfully responding to the call to donate canned goods or gently used coats for people in need.
But this was going to be different. This was going to be where the rubber meets the road, and it may not be all pleasant. To add to my trepidation, I was taking my daughter along. My almost nine year-old whose complaints about not having an Ipad or a two-story house like everyone else prompted me to sign us up for this experiment in servitude and gratitude.
We would be spending our morning at a church down the street handing out groceries from the food pantry to families in need.
I explained to my daughter that we would be working hard, that we would do whatever the food pantry workers asked us to do, and we’d do it with a smile. We would greet the families with the same love and respect that we would want to receive. We would be a bright spot in their day.
We arrived to a long line of people and cars snaking around the building. Families with babies, toddlers, and grandmas, bundled up against the cold. We braced ourselves against the freezing drizzle as we ran from the car into the warm church.
We worked together as a team, she and I, handing out sacks of produce at Door #2 to the cars driving through the line. At Door #1, they received canned goods and pantry items for their Thanksgiving meal. At our door, we delivered sacks of onions, potatoes, celery, and fruit. At Door #3, they received a turkey, and when the turkeys ran out, a chicken or two, depending upon the size of the family.
The people we served were so extremely grateful. Many couldn’t speak English, and I can’t speak Spanish, but we smiled at each other, and one phrase we both understood was thank you.
It’s often said that when you help others, you’re really getting much more in return. And it couldn’t be truer. One sweet, elderly woman grabbed my hand and exclaimed, “God bless you!” and as I responded in kind, I felt myself get choked up.
And my almost tween daughter, despite her eye-rolling, Ipodding exterior, slipped her hand in mine as we walked to the car and asked if we could come back next year.
Yes, I believe this will be our new holiday tradition.
Not because of what we did for them, but because of what they did for us.