We spent a couple hours at the Food Bank for Eastern Michigan, volunteering and helping sort food. Similar to the new way we were able to help with Operation Christmas Child this year, this day at the Food Bank was another way us to see a cycle of serving and giving. Our church has run H.I.S. Ministry for years, even before we became members more than 11 years ago. H.I.S. stands for "Helping Individuals Succeed" and is place the community around our church is able to get free food and clothing, every Tuesday. My husband, myself and Sissy have all volunteered at H.I.S. over the years and were even serviced by them a couple times 6 years ago when my husband was laid off for a couple months.
In addition to working at H.I.S. when we are able, each year at Christmas we are able to donate to H.I.S. so that they can purchase food to give away at a very reduced rate, from the Food Bank. So....while we were sorting through pallets and pallets of food at the Food Bank, I was able to explain that our church would be purchasing the food we were sorting to give to needy people in our community.
Our homeschool co-op went to the Food Bank with well over 50 kids and parents to work through many pallets of food. We were sorting and taping boxes that had developed holes or the packaging had ripped.
We were wearing coats and gloves because we were in a warehouse that did not have much heat. The work itself was pretty fast paced so as long as you were moving, you were able to stay warm.
Sissy has a heart for service like I do not see in young teenagers very often. I love finding ways that she can help and feel fulfilled. Thankfully the field trip coordinator for our co-op is planning a service day at the Food Bank at least once a month so we can take some time to help frequently.
We attended our American Heritage Girls Christmas party at the beginning of the month. The girls made an ornament, decorated Christmas cookies, watched a movie and of course participated in Shoes for Orphan Souls. This is the third year of our troop and at our first Christmas party one of our moms organized donations for Shoes for Orphan Souls.
This ministry collects new shoes, socks and shoe laces for orphans around the world. The best part of the Christmas party is when the girls draw pictures for the children who will receive them and then we are able to pray with the girls for the child that will receive them. This is the station I ALWAYS choose to work at.
Each and every time a girl brings me the shoes they have chosen, we fold up their note, stuff it in the toe of the shoes and sit to pray, my throat closes and I fight tears. I fight tears for the children that at that moment are rummaging through garbage dumps for food, with nothing to protect their feet from cuts and dirt, I fight tears for the little girl in front of me who is learning how to love others and show it, and I fight tears as I wonder if I am doing enough to lead the little girl in front of me to a life of prayer and communion with God. It is a very emotional time for me however, one that I would not miss if given the choice.
I'm proud to say that this season we took as many opportunities to serve others as we could. In addition to the Food Bank, Shoes for Orphan Souls, the older two girls serving at our church's Ladies Christmas Breakfast, our family went Christmas caroling for the 2nd year in a row with several other families. These opportunities are a wonderful addition to our holiday season.