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Stories from the Food Pantry and Clothing Closet

Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you've got;
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see,
Our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name. “Theme from ‘Cheers’”

Even if you’ve never seen the TV comedy “Cheers”, you’ve probably heard the theme song “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”. This song came to mind one day when “Dave” arrived at our Food Pantry/Clothing Closet. He hadn’t been there for several months, but when we said, “Welcome back, Dave,” he commented how nice it was to come where we knew his name and asked about his children. Since then, the “Theme from Cheers” has become a type of theme song for us on Tuesdays … and our volunteers make it their mission to build relationships and offer hope in addition to food and clothing. Even though we can’t call everyone who walks through our doors by name, we want them to feel Christ’s love and know “He knows your name”—and we’re always glad you came.

This month we’d like to share some stories to warm your heart and give you a glimpse of how your gifts are making an impact on others’ lives. (Only first names, if known, are being used, out of respect for privacy.)

How a doll changed tears of anxiety to tears of joy

When “Martha” arrived for her first visit, she was very nervous. She began to shake as she filled out the registration form and said she was so embarrassed to have to ask for help. As we assured her that’s why we are here—to help people, she calmed down a little, but soon she was experiencing a full-blown panic attack and cried tears of anxiety. We were able to assist her with her order and asked if she’d like to go to our clothing closet while we got her food. (Most people are very surprised and thankful there is no cost for either food or clothing.) When she came back upstairs, she was so excited she had found a doll for her granddaughter she babysits. She was now crying tears of joy. Yes, Martha, Jesus knew your need for comfort and provided that through a doll someone had donated!

Supporting a young unwed mother through her pregnancy

Abandoned by her baby’s father, Katelyn arrived wanting just a “little” assistance to help her as she prepared for her daughter’s birth. She never asked for much—some cereal, paper products, laundry soap. We were able to refer her to Alpha Center and WIC, and shared in her joy as she brought her little girl into this world. She came by to introduce us to her baby, and was thrilled to receive a baby quilt from the sewing group! As she prepared to move to Colorado Springs, she came by to thank us for the support she had received and she continues to stay in touch. Yes, Katelyn, Jesus knew your need to have some women support and pray for you as you prepared to raise His little lamb on your own!

“Maybe I go your church”

JoJo is a Chinese Christian who was so very thankful to find a wedding dress for her daughter, clothing and household items for herself, and she was delighted when she received jasmine rice and other authentic Chinese specialties donated just for her! She shared her concerns over raising her children in today’s world. She told us she came each week to visit and knew we would pray for her. One day, in thanking us for the “gifts” of food and clothing, she also thanked us for sharing Jesus’ love and said in broken English, “Maybe I go your church.” Yes, JoJo, Jesus knew your need to be among other Christian parents as well as your physical needs for food and clothing, and has answered your prayers for a good job for your husband even though it meant moving to Texas.

We have many, many more stories we could share—stories to touch your heart and bring tears to your eyes; about the squeals of joy when the children find a new toy to take home, or the husband who was delighted to find a plant to take home to his wife, or the new mom who found baby items, or the young woman who took home a box of Christmas ornaments, or the woman who found a suitcase she needed. Everyone who comes in has a story—everyone has a name—and we’re so glad they came!!!

Thank you for sharing God’s love through your monetary donations and donations of food, paper products, hygiene products, clothing, household goods and toys! Your gifts are truly appreciated and help bring people hope!!!! Please pray for the people who come through our doors, that they may see Christ’s love in action and know He calls them by name.

Volunteers are needed—especially for the food pantry, as we’re experiencing growth in our numbers (averaging fifteen to sixteen families per week) and are short-handed this summer. You don’t have to commit to work every week—even one week per month would be greatly appreciated! If interested, please contact Arlene Knox or Linda Funke.

The Food Pantry and Clothing Closet are open Tuesdays, 9:00 to 11:00 AM.

The Board of Human Needs finds opportunities for the members of Saint John’s to provide a Christian witness by helping people in the community struggling with daily necessities.