Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Learned This Week that We All CAN Make a Difference

I meant to post this last week but my computer was acting all wonky and I just did not have the patience to deal with it that day. But it still works for this week!

What I learned last week is that we...as in you and me...we CAN make a difference in our communities.

I am pretty much an optimist. I see the glass half-full, give people the benefit of the doubt, see a job where there is no job, money where there doesn't seem to be any coming in, hope in the face of darkness. To me, there is almost always a ray of light to bring someone through a tough time.

I know that not everyone has this hope. I have seen first hand, many people that are beaten down by the experiences in their life. Some even in my own family. As a matter of fact, it is a miracle that I didn't follow that path.

This weekend I saw a community that most likely has a few people in it like that. They simply have lost hope.

People seemingly at the end of their rope and just taking each day to survive.

This community was about 10 miles from my house. The crazy thing is that tucked in between the McMansion subdivisions on the way are a half dozen or so of these communities. My neighbors.

Each month at my church we have what we call Bumper Crop and each month a different set of volunteers handles the job. It is a big job. This month it was my small group.

Okay, so what is a small group? It's just a group of people that come together to do life with one another, study the bible and eat food. Lots of eating. We've been together for a little over 2 years right now and they are a great group of people to be with. Here they are. Don't we look so lovely in those vests?

Anyway, back to the job of Bumper Crop. First of all, let me say - the privilege of Bumper Crop.

First thing we do is collect a little over 1,800 paper bags from our local grocery stores - EACH MONTH.

We attach a flyer telling what Bumper Crop is and then place these bags with the flyer on all of the cars in our parking lots at church for all 4 services.

The flyer asks each person to take that bag home or to the grocery store and fill it with food, paper products, toiletries and essentials. Then bring the food back the following weekend and place it at the bumper of their car, hence the name.

We then collect the food and take it to a different community in need EACH MONTH.

This month we collected over 400 bags of food. Just look at this photo my friend, Chris took. You can check her photo blog out at Dreams Are Free. She takes some great pictures. She took all of these photos actually! Be sure to click over there to read her take on the whole experience.

So, we delivered this food to our neighbors. We worked together with them in a fire line to unload the food into an empty trailer to be distributed later to those that need it. Then we all held hands - neighbors - and prayed together.

Y'all, I am telling you, I had to choke back tears. I'm not telling you this to brag or to show how righteous I am. (I'm not) It's just that I can't really even describe to you what I felt. It was both compassion and love and thankfulness and inspiration all churning inside my heart and soul. I think the tears were the combination of all of this wanting to explode right out of me.

My neighbors. Your neighbors. We each CAN make a difference by giving a little bit of hope and and just Loving One Another.

For more lessons learned this week head over to Musings of a Housewife.

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Sherlyn said...

Wow...I have tears flowing just reading this. I have participated in a "small group" for almost three years now and they have become more than just family. I would love to "rob" this idea from you to use - hope you don't mind. This is such an amazing way of helping others.

sarah said...

What an awesome idea!! I love it. Keep up the good work. It is an inspiration to us all.

Lindsay said...

ooo amazing lesson! Good job :-)

Jen said...

That is amazing. What a great group reaching out to your community.

JanMary said...

I loved reading about this - I was involved in something similar, on a smaller scale, in a church we went to in England.

Lovely photos on your friend's blog too - off to leave a comment there.

Kellie said...

SUch a beautiful testimony of God's people doing God's work! He can take a few empty shopping bags and fill them up...and do it all over again a month later! There are so many practical aplications to this story!

Thanks for sharing!

kel said...

That is amazing!!

Hairline Fracture said...

That is wonderful. We all can make a difference. Our church has different opportunities to donate, especially around the holidays, but I like how this is consistent.

Musings of a Housewife said...

That is so cool! Thanks for sharing. :-)

Dawn Ward said...

Oh Janel! I have chills and tears. How awesome is that?!? Thanks for sharing.

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