By Bekah Brewer, GraceWorks Development Assistant
Hello GraceWorks community—Bekah, here, GraceWorks Development Assistant. I just wanted to write a quick article to give you a bit more insight on what a night at the food pantry has looked like in our modified model. I hope this gives you more of an idea into the work we continue to do to bless our Neighbors—thank you again to so many donors who believe in this ministry!
During one of our Drive-through Pantry service days, a member of the GraceWorks staff jotted down notes on her phone to capture the sense of the day. We thought you, our supporters who make this possible, would like to see the impact of your incredible support.
The following notes were taken during an afternoon drive-through pantry shift (Wednesday, April 22nd to be exact). We are now no longer doing evening shifts, but the drive-through pantry is still open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
2:42 PM – Finish putting in checks and making thank you letters to send out to our incredibly generous donors—we had 62 checks come in just the past 2 days, what a month of miracles it has been!
2:57 – A quick report from our Executive Assistant, Greg, to let me know that just today we have received a total of 55 check donations – wow, look at our incredible God!!
3:05 – Greet one neighbor already in line and let him know we don’t open until 4 PM, but that we are glad he is here – he says he is eager to get some food for him and his grandchildren. Masked up and ready to get going for the night ahead:
3:12 – Jump off a quick call with the Development Director to touch base about one of our social media marketing efforts and praising God about what He is doing through this ministry! Time to set up the registration tent—we’ve got it down to a science now and can do it in about 4 minutes:
3:15 – Chick-fil-A Cherry Coke encouragement received from our very kind HR Rep/Bookkeeper, Susan Seiling—a blessing in the form of caffeine 🙂
3:17 – “There are blackberries everywhere—literally in EVERY refrigerator!! Let’s give them away y’all!” overheard from Sylvia Ware, our GraceWorks Furniture Store Manager.
3:28 – Check in on our amazing hand-selected volunteers who are getting everything stocked and ready for the night:
3:34 – Gather for prayer time where our CEO, Valencia Breckenridge, reminds us that even the small gestures of love matter. We get our assignments, have a quick prayer acknowledging God as Provider and Sustainer, and are off to the races!
3:50 – 10 minutes until “GO-time” and already 10 cars are lined up, eager to receive food:
3:59 – “Let’s go!!!” sounds off over the radio—Neighbors ready to serve Neighbors!
4:25 – Hearing neighbors’ stories of how the coronavirus has affected their lives, but how they are so grateful how a ministry like GraceWorks exists – we are just as blessed as you are that we exist friends!
4:36 – Retail associate, Jennifer Martin, and I catch a quick breath after serving 15 cars in the first 35 mins. A short dance party and a re-organization of the paperwork is completed to make sure our hearts and heads are in the right place:
5:04 – Greg chats with a neighbor from a safe distance—finding out more about their story and making them feel a bit more human amid the humble task of asking for food:
6:05 – All the vans drive through with all the babies—6 in a row to be exact!
6:27 – A woman comes through requesting small diapers and bananas for her pet rescued monkey. Yes, those are available ma’am!
6:34 – A mom comes knowing she can’t get another food cart because she just came last week, but is just requesting any cupcakes, cake, or ice cream to celebrate her 4-year-old in the back, whose birthday it is! We searched and found cupcakes—huzzah! Brought them out and GW staff sang to the little guy, who grinned from ear to ear all the way through our Happy Birthday ditty – his mom did as well, blessed by our gesture of love!
7:01 – “Alright people, that’s a wrap!” declares Greg over the walkie talkie. Tear down
7:06 – Review of the amazing prep work our team already did for the next day—what a bunch of champs! As Retail Associate, Laura Burbank, demonstrates, we are ready to JUMP into the next day:
7:10 – A recap of the day reflecting on the goodness of God and His awesome provision to us and our Neighbors:
“71 this morning and 29 tonight, that’s a 100 right Bryan?!” – Me
“Yes! 100 neighbors even, that math checks out!” – Bryan Pogue, Director of Neighbor Services.
“Wow, what a day the Lord has made!” – Me
My overall thoughts:
- There is never a dull moment here and this place is full of miracles—I see God’s fingerprints daily!
- We have an incredible team of staff and volunteers who give out of the overflow of that which they have been given!
- I am so thankful we can help neighbors in such a practical way and spread the love of Christ throughout the area, being the hands and feet of Christ has been anchoring in this season!