No question about it, miracles do happen. Maybe you don’t believe in miracles. I do. I was in denial for the longest time. But, after awhile, I had to face reality. There were simply too many coincidences:
One September pantry day a few years ago the lines were longer than usual and the shelves were emptying out fast. “I think we’re going to run out of food” I mentioned under my breath to Marie Duane, a volunteer from St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church.
“Do we have a plan for this kind of event?” I asked myself.
Then, to quote the Reverend Mike Huckabee, “God showed up.”
I know this statement is applicable here because the moment I began muttering under my breath, it was as if someone had blown a whistle. A red haired woman drove up in a tan SUV filled with bags and bags of food she collected from Congregation Agudas Achim in Kingston. Harriet Kazansky unloaded enough canned and boxed food to get us through the day with some food left over!
One December, the Wednesday after Christmas, to be exact, John Mower drove up with a car trunk filled with canned vegetables for the pantry. What a gift! Our pantry was completely bare that December. Then, the next day, along came another trunk load. He finally quit after three trips to the pantry. He filled the shelves for the next pantry day.
One Tuesday morning in the pantry, Peggy Johnson was upset because she didn’t have enough food to prepare the take out bags for the fourteen families she delivered food to every week. Food had been scarce and this week the take out area seemed empty. A large man suddenly walked in the door carrying an extremely large box filled with canned and boxed food. A Kingston fireman who grew up in the Woodstock area, he made Peggy promise to never reveal his name. However, she didn’t have to keep his gift a secret: in one trip down the pantry hallway, carrying a box large enough to hold everything needed, he single handedly provided all the food for the home bound families that week. Our pantry has never heard from him since.
In the pantry hallway, we had an Item of Dignity closet. where shoppers could take a roll of toilet paper and one other item each time they shopped. We were forbidden by the building committee to have clothing in this closet.
One Wednesday afternoon I noticed a pair of new boots. I have no idea where they came from. They certainly didn’t come in disguised as deodorant or shampoo. Anyway, Prasida needed a pair of winter boots. One of the volunteers took them off the shelf.
“Prasida, can you wear wear these boots?” Prasida came over to the closet, looked them over, and put them on.
“Ahhh – a perfect fit! Thank you Amma! Now I won’t have cold feet this winter in my summer sandals.”
At one point, I was reading Doreen Virtue’s book “Archangels and Ascended Masters”. One night I read about Saint Therese, also known as the Little Flower. The story goes that if one prays to St. Therese, she will send a rose as a sign that the request has been heard. The next day, I found a rose on the pantry floor as I walked into the room.
But, the real miracle happened repeatedly in the pantry as the shoppers and volunteers both began to heal and change and grow from the community, their commitment, and the experiences in the pantry. When people first started coming to the pantry, either to volunteer or shop, they were focused inward on their own problems, issues, health. After a short time, they began to focus on their friends in the pantry. They became concerned about something bigger than themselves and their private struggles.
In short…they became new.
Thanks for reading this blog/book. The stories are true. The people are real.
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The book is still in progress! It’s going to happen!
alleviating hunger, elderly poor, emergency feeding programs, emergency food assistance, emergency food assistance program, employed poor, feeding the homeless, Feeding the Hungry, food desert, food insecurity, food insecurity for seniors, food pantries, food pantry, food pantry blog, generational poor, hunger, Hunger is Not a Disease blog, ill poor, infant poor, medical expenses, mental illness, nutrition assistance, serious illness, situational poor, SNAP, social justice, soup kitchens, struggling poor, the transportation challenged, Thurman Greco, underemployment, unemployment, Upstate New York, Woodstock NY