There are some things that we just have to wake up and see and our hearts will be warmed. And then there are the deliberate things we do or put on our schedule that can warm our heart, too.
The second Thursday of every month our church rallies volunteers to cook a meal in the church kitchen at 5:30. It’s the exact same recipe every month with a different group of people cooking it but the same supervisors to guide the volunteers. The “supe” is checking the meat to make sure it’s up to the right temperature.
Large coolers are fitted with a food safe liner to mix the dish in and to transport the dish from Kirkland to Seattle arriving hot and ready to serve. I suppose we could call these coolers “warmers” or portable ovens. First the sauce goes in.
Then the meat and the vegetables, the rice and some more vegetables. Stir it up with the big wooden food paddle.
You add the carrots last and keep stirring.
While the hot meal is being cooked more volunteers are preparing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to send off with the homeless after they enjoy their hot meal.
This time we also had warm blankets to load up and distribute to the guys that would be lining up for dinner.
Of course there’s the clean-up, too. So whoever is not stirring the final product gets busy washing up as much as they can before we take off to go downtown so there is less to clean up when we come back. We load everything up in the van that will transport us across Lake Washington to the meal site. Then we wait for Kay Abe. The little perky lady that started the Lord’s Table.
“Hungry patrons stand in a line curving around the fence. Men and women of all ages and races patiently wait as Kay Abe rushes around to make last-minute arrangements. Someone can’t locate a knife to serve the pie, but digging through her bag of supplies, Abe finds something that can work.”
Our church’s ministry is called Isaiah 58 and we partner with the organization downtown called The Lord’s Table. The Lord’s Table started with one dear woman who decided she could feed the homeless. Now after several years different volunteer groups partner with Kay Abe to serve these hot meals Monday thru Thursday nights. Last Thursday night I held Kay’s hand as we stood in a circle holding hands to pray and thank God for the men who came to eat the meal, she told us she is now 86. You can read a little about Kay and this ministry here, and here. You can see from the first article that she used to do the brunt of the work.
I didn’t count but we served close to 100 this night. Besides the hot dish we served green salad, fruit salad, buttered bread, hot drinks, and dessert. It was a very cold night and the favorite drink for the night was hot chocolate. All but 4 of the blankets were distributed. This whole process downtown occurs from approximately 8 pm – 9 pm. After we cleaned up even the pigeons were able to glean some food.
Sometimes it’s hard to put something like this on your calendar. This very day I was sitting in my warm house thinking about how cold it would be downtown and wondering how I might get out of it. My throat was a little scratchy, you know. Maybe I should just stay home. I’m glad the Lord fixed my attitude and I went. The whole evening warmed my heart. 1. Making sandwiches with the members of our small group and their children. 2. Watching the hot dish crew mix and cook and stir the main dish. 3. Watching others from our small group wash up the dishes smiling and laughing. 4. Loading up the van. 5. Then being able to load plates and smile and give a cheery greeting to all who came through the line downtown. 6. Meeting Kay again and being blessed by her unselfish service to the Homeless in downtown Seattle. Yep…my heart was warm and bubbling over…
I’m sure you can find a similar ministry where you live and I encourage you to take the leap and join in for an evening or day. You will get a new perspective…