I’ve been a supporter of BTG and their variety of programs for years and heard about the previous years of summer lunch program but could not be apart as my work scheduled prevented my participation. My sister, Dana Wallace, mentioned she was helping with the first week of the program this year and I was excited to finally have the flexibility in my schedule. Looking back, I see how God used my naive and small yes to re-focus and remind me of my life purpose and ultimately challenge me to live outside “my bubble”.
It was apparent from our first interactions that the kids participating in the program had many more needs than a sack lunch. Most days they needed a friend to play with, an adult to listen, an encouraging word, a hug, but mostly to know someone in this vast world cares for them. One of my favorites was the kid who “needed” my help to throw up after getting too hot and then after a little extra TLC asked me to walk him home.
On the second day of summer lunch program, I was playing a ball game with a couple of boys who kept asking for additional lunches. I asked if they were still hungry and they said “yes!!”, and the additional lunches were provided. Through that conversation one of the boys mentioned they didn’t have any food at their home just one can of ravioli. I was completely humbled in that moment and knew what I must do! We gave the boys extra lunch bags to take home for dinner and that evening I went shopping for items for their pantry. Sadly, this scenario repeated itself multiple times throughout the summer. What a privilege an honor to literally fill in the gap for this family!
I’ve heard and experienced that serving people is more about loving and getting to know them right where they are. What a pleasure to experiencing that first hand through one family this summer. At the beginning of the summer, mom would stay in the car while a couple of kids signed in and got their lunches for the family. One random day, I went to the car to talk to mom and see if she needed anything and just to chit chat. The next day, mom got out of the car with the kids and stayed for a little while to play games with the other volunteers. As the days past, I was able to spend more time with mom and family outside of the summer lunch program to invest in the relationship with this family. It was a true pleasure to invest in this family over the summer!
I’m extremely thankful and grateful to have been able to be apart of this amazing program and all that BTG is doing in our community to feed, serve and restore!!