Carry On, Love Warrior

Sharing rescued food is pretty amazing. As more families get involved and learn how to love their neighbors, more food comes. We feel “in over our heads,” but volunteers keep showing up and honestly we cannot capture all the amazing stories of what God is doing with the food we “rescue” from a dismal landfill fate.

Food RescueWhen a volunteer drives the box truck to our donor to pick up a full truck load of food, they start praying someone will come to the office and help unload, sort and distribute. The volume of work is almost indescribable. And that work demands an army. Last week, about 40 volunteers made the share possible.

Some of the food is bad; that’s why it was headed to the landfill. But, lots of the food is really good and our volunteers sort the food, pulling out the bad for our compost bin, and distributing the good to families that need it.

Food RescueOur volunteer motto is “Teamwork makes the dream work.” One of the beautiful pictures of community living is seeing volunteers meet new friends, engage their children and teach each other new things. From homemade jam, veggie stir fry, homemade salsa, and pickles, many of us are learning new ways to cook and bless families who need food and friendship. We are also learning to get out of our comfort zones to meet people that are different than us. We are finding everyone is the “same kind of different as me!”

We all need to read more stories, to be encouraged by our community friends and maybe get a friendly nudge to get out there and love somebody!

So grab a cup of coffee and read some stories of Why the GKC Market Matters

“For me, the amazing resources from the Trade Market have been helping my family build community and God’s love in my neighborhood.

Pink roses for Pakistani neighbor who just had a baby girl. I had NO idea what to get for them, so the roses were the perfect. In the past we have talked very little. A week later, as I was walking my dog, she stopped her car in the middle of the road to say hi and ask how I was doing. Made me smile!

A meal for a neighbor who WAS separated from his wife. (She came back home 3 days ago!) He asked us about church and said he loves where he goes and has NEVER been a church goer. Thanked us for the prayers.

A meal to a new neighbor. She is elderly and her daughter made her move from Tennessee to Alabama. I could tell she was pretty down.

A meal to our male couple across the street. One of them had surgery (I had no idea) and the casserole was the first real food he had eaten in days. They called and expressed sincere thanks, and said, “No one does things like that anymore.”

Fruit to Indian (Hindu) couple next door.

Next I will welcome 2 new neighbors who just moved in across the street.

We all have amazing gifts and see different needs. I’m thankful GKC is helping me share and make a difference in the lives of others.”

Food Rescue“I am the product of two people who lived through the Great Depression of the 1930’s. It is very difficult for me to stand by and not distribute perfectly good food to people who can use it. The influx of food coming into the GKC building is almost overwhelming these days, so it does my heart good when others load my car up, and I just see what the afternoon and evening will hold! I was unexpectedly widowed 16 months ago today, so chalk it up to the freedom of widowhood! 😊

This past Monday evening, Scott loaded up my car, and off I went. I thought I remembered that there was a large supper and meeting at my church of foster families that evening. I was right, and I set up shop just outside the doors of the fellowship hall, with the help of three adults who just happened to be standing there when I pulled up. After I loved on the foster families, I headed to the fire station.

By the time I rang the doorbell, later that evening, at one of the Alabaster fire stations, it was 9:45pm and I woke those kind gentlemen up. They were very gracious as I apologized to them and blessed them with some food.

Then I headed to the Pelham Police Department. They took a few items, as did a citizen who was from out-of-state who was waiting for a family member to be returned to the station. One of the police officers encouraged me to go to the Shelby Brookwood Hospital emergency room to distribute items. (I had shared with them about the outstanding care first responders gave to my husband the night that he traveled on home in May of last year.)

I pulled my car out onto Highway 31 and headed south just to take a look, but not disturb, another fire station. That’s when I suddenly noticed how busy it was at a gas station on the other side of the highway. I couldn’t resist, and that’s when the real fun started! Times are tough, and people are very grateful for any kind of free food.

It was a very busy, loud place. By the time I had distributed nearly everything in my car, I was sweating profusely.

A concerned customer came up and asked me if I was all right. She, her adult son, and I had a very meaningful conversation. I was able to share a Grace Klein Community business card with her. It is amazing what people want to talk about these days. I explained to her that, as far as I’m concerned, we are all broken. All of our families are “a mess.” We are all wounded, and, to me, healing takes place when we follow Our Wounded Healer. Will we continue to be wounded? Of course! But there are no wounds on the other side of the grave. I did not leave that gas station until 11:15pm that night!

I am not one who talks a lot about my faith experience in public, but this was hands down the easiest witnessing opportunity I have ever had in my life. God bless GKC and may our adventures together continue!

Oh, and one other story…

The WJ Christian School in the Birmingham city system is classified as a “high poverty” school, educating kindergarten through eighth grades.

About 10 days ago, another GKC volunteer and I delivered several boxes of bananas and cucumbers and purple potatoes and a few tomatoes to that school while the building was open for their after school program.

The next day every single student in that school was given food!!!

Guess how many students…….620!!!

Yes, six hundred twenty students!

Please know that what GKC does is very, very, very important!

And hats off to WJ Christian School for showing all of us another lovely example of “community.”

As Glennon Doyle Melton would say:

“Carry On, Love Warrior!”

“In November, 2008, the Holy Spirit told me to make an accounting of our debt. We had been in a Financial Peace University class and it was time to “put up or shut up.” I was appalled when I saw the bottom line. We had accumulated almost $100K of debt in addition to the mortgage on our house. We had three sons out of high school and three daughters still in high school. My husband was running a vending business, and I had been cleaning our church building to try to help make ends meet. However, in August, my body was exhausted and I had to quit. I had no idea how we were going to survive financially, but we cut up the credit cards and started trying to pay down our debt. We stopped buying everything except food and gasoline. Some months, we were down to pennies before my husband’s disability benefits were deposited into our account. God told me to draw a big red cross over every page of our budget, signifying that His blood had washed away our sin and reminding me that He would make a way for us to repay what we owed. Since then, we have paid off 13 department store and gasoline credit cards and 7 major credit cards…We are still paying on two credit cards, a personal loan, and some medical bills.

I went back to work at the church in January, 2009, supervising a young man whose body was able to withstand the demands of cleaning a large building. We were making slow but steady progress in our debt reduction plan, but it seemed that all hell was against us. I was making a monthly accounting of our balances with every creditor. It seemed that every time we made a $10K reduction in our debt, we would get slammed with a hospital bill or a tree limb through our roof. On November 10, 2009, the day after my son’s birthday, the day of my twin daughters’ birthday, and a week before mine, we were hit with both. As I lay on the couch with a vice-grip headache, it was raining in our upstairs bedroom and our downstairs den. My oldest son drove me to the hospital, where the CT scan and the MRI revealed that my brain was swollen. The cause was never determined, but the presence of the Lord filled the room when I began to sing praise songs to Him. The next morning, the doctor came in and found me sitting up in bed watching television. He discharged me and I have not had a headache since. There is way more to that story, but this testimony is about God’s provision, so I’ll get back to that subject. I had no medical insurance, so I had to set up monthly payments to the hospital and the doctors, radiologists, etc. When I got home, I had to deal with the hole in the roof and the water damage to the floors and ceilings, which of course involved paying a deductible. As my mother used to say, we couldn’t win for losing. We wondered if we would have to file bankruptcy, but the Holy Spirit said to stay the course. God has proven Himself faithful on our behalf. He has “supplied all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Enter Grace Klein Community. I was first introduced to GKC when they shared their ministry at our Missions Conference at Liberty Church in 2010 or 2011. I was very interested in their ministry, but I never jumped in and got involved. I donated a few things here and there, but I was stuck in the rut of my life. I didn’t believe that I had anything to offer because of the debt. To be honest, I felt condemned because I had squandered so much on myself while Grace Klein Community teaches a frugal lifestyle for the purposes of blessing the body of Christ. Every so often, our paths would cross, but I still didn’t get involved in the ministry.

Food RescueOn March 16, 2014, I fell on my driveway and broke my hip, On March 13, 2015, my husband had cardiac bypass surgery. Although I trusted God in these trials, I became increasingly isolated from the body of Christ. All I could think about was how to keep the bills paid.

Fast forward to August 2016. One Wednesday evening at church, a friend asked me if we needed food. I thought I might as well check it out and see if we could save some money on groceries and have more to pay toward debt. Every time I went to pick up food, I was impressed with selflessness. This time, instead of feeling condemned, I was convicted, so I started helping. Now, instead of sitting at home feeling broken down, washed up, and useless, I am able to be part of God’s work while partaking of the abundant provision that our Father has poured out through Grace Klein Community. Every week I am able to share my life by helping clean fridges, mop floors, encourage young moms, sort produce, help preserve food, and distribute food to families who need assistance. Anything I have done to help Grace Klein Community pales in comparison to the blessing they have been in my life. Through their example, they called me out of the kingdom of self and I am eternally grateful.

Guess it’s time to refill that cup of coffee and get your love on. When you have time, email and share your own story of how love is transforming you.

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