We had early guests on this dark and very wet morning. We invited them inside even though the coffee was not yet ready. The early arrivals took upon themselves to do the set up. Allen helped with placement directions and they took charge of all the heavy lifting. We truly are a Neighborhood.
Thanks so much to Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church for preparing hot burritos this morning. And also thank you to this team and their congregation for their contributions to our food pantry. EUUC supplies, tuna packets, oatmeal packets, cold cereals, cheese sticks, mandarin oranges, and an assortment of beverages. This is a huge gift of nutrition to our Neighbors.
Our food pantry gave out 52 food bags, salads and sandwiches this morning. They gave food boxes to two families.
Thank you to nurse Gail from Mercy Watch for being with us! We don’t know for sure........... Will she ever get over being so timid? 😊 Actually, she and Tony are welcoming three new volunteers who joined us from Edmonds Church of God. We so enjoyed their company and their belief in serving.
We hope you will enjoy this article that John Judd recently shared. It is taken from the newsletter published by the congregation that Josh and Caroline Judd-Herzfeldt attended while living in Chicago, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Thank you for sharing, John. Surely, many of you will relate to this young servant’s experience.
When someone says the word unhoused or homeless my mind quickly shifts to makeshift housing, starvation, and uncleanliness. And although poverty should never be romanticized, volunteering at the South Loop Community Table (SLCT) helped me see differently what it looks like to live without many material possessions.
I will admit that I have often been wrapped up in harsh stereotyping, separating “us” from “them” when thinking about people caught in the gloomy, depressing systems of poverty. Maybe not looking down on “them,” instead feeling pity or a motivation for justice, but still recognizing that there are differences.
Which led me to view service work as either a chore or a duty. When I participated with the HTLC youth group at the South Loop Community Table (SLCT) my view shifted. At a brief orientation explaining the services and overall mission, the leaders told us, “At this table we put community over charity.” And I think it's this thought that makes both the SLCT and general community service as a whole so meaningful.
Kindness and community shouldn't have to be something that we are guilted into. It should be something that we celebrate and look forward to. I remember fondly talking to many different people there. It was quite honestly a lot of fun and felt no different then a conversation I might have with someone at school. I heard some of their life stories and was absolutely in awe over the pain and suffering that many had triumphed over. Not only this but the cheerful happy demeanor they greeted me with was incredible. I felt welcomed in their community and I wasn’t expecting that at all.
I assumed I would be working in a kitchen separate from most others working to serve the meals. Instead I sat with others, people I had previously considered “them.” And as we ate food together, talked, and laughed, I enjoyed myself. Not because I thought I was saving someone from a cold hungry night and not because I felt like some fairy godmother. I enjoyed myself thanks to the human connections I made with the people I met.
This was not a one sided event; people there were ready to offer up what they could even if that meant just a conversation, word of advice, or a simple smile. There was no “me” and there was no “them,” in that moment we were all one. Even though everyone participating in the meal would be returning to some different situations, the bottom line is that we were all just some hungry humans who wanted to share a good conversation over a good meal.
It was an experience that helped to remind me that all stereotypes fail to yield anything helpful. We all carry the divine within us, and we all have something we can offer to make this world just a little bit better.
I thank the congregation for continuing to support our youth group. It continues to be a wonderful way to explore my faith, spread love, and build community. I implore all of you to stay curious, spread love, and never forget we all get hungry and we all have a story to share.
Ben Strickler is a sophomore at Lane Tech and is a member of the Lakeview Lutheran Parish Youth Group. You've probably seen him serve as a crucifer or banner bearer at HTLakeview. This summer, Ben is getting trained to join the HTLakeview Livestream Team. We're grateful for his heart for service and community.
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