How are you doing today?
How many children do you have in your family?
How many in your family are over 65?
Are you a single parent?
These are the lead questions our guests face as they visit the Gospel Mission Food Pantry on Wednesday in order to meet their food needs. Now I say Wednesday, but so often we have emergency situations resulting in almost every day of the week being a food distribution time for someone. You see, folks don't have problems just on Wednesday ... it is almost every day of the week in these troubled times.
Since I last wrote to you two family-based situation have appeared. First, families are consolidating or "moving in together" as the economy tightens. Secondly, changes in food stamp programs have pushed our Gospel Mission Food Pantry even more into the forefront of family security. Yes, it is getting tougher to meet everyone's needs.
Saying it yet another way, "the food shelves at the GMFP are emptying out faster" these days.
In order to be descriptive of the issue at hand, on May 29, we began to collect and compile more data from our guests. So, since that date, we have provided food for 5,657 people, including 2,514 children and 848 single parents. At the same time we have distributed 146 Bibles. These numbers precisely define both the excitement and the challenge we face.
I must tell you that I have a great deal on my mind these days. Let me list but a few of my thoughts ... our accelerating numbers, the upcoming holidays, the large number of elderly guests and the entry of small children into larger family units as the previously mentioned consolidations occur. Someone once warned me saying, "Candy it is not supposed to be easy" and I agreed at that time and I still understand that the game is on the table. It is just that we need help and I hope you can aim our way as you consider other's struggles. Yes, needs are plentiful at this time of the year.
My prayer is that we "have enough" to meet the challenge of October through December. Very naively I say ... I hope we can help our gusts have some of those things they strive for over the holidays and into 2014 ... namely food and warmth. Providing food is our side of the equation.
So I am going to ask ... please talk with your spouse or partner about our needs. I ask that you speak with friends and co-workers about our needs. If you cannot help us financially, stop by and say "hello" as you drop off jars of peanut butter, boxes of spaghetti, cans of vegetables, rolls of toilet tissue, or even loafs of bread. It all helps!
Monday and Tuesday are food preparation days, Wednesday is food distribution day, Thursday-Friday-Saturday are "combination work days" when we get clothing donations ready to distribute, we do our weekly shopping trip to area grocery stores and we clean up the place. Sunday is the Lord's day. So stop by any day but Sunday!
Look ... come see us. We work hard, we laugh, as we work to provide for others. You might eve meet Paul, the Bob's, Moonshine, Russ, Matt, Debby, Jan, Betty, Ump and his bride, or Sunshine plus Jeff and me. Yes, we hang fun name on each other, we challenge each other and we "chat a lot" as we "grind away" breaking down cartons of food into distributable bags. Stop by from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday and/or Tuesday ... join into the work frenzy.
We need your help today and tomorrow. It isn't easy to ask for help, but the struggle is of value if those in need are helped. I appreciate each of you as you consider others' needs.
God bless ye.
Candy Waite is director of the Gospel Mission Food Pantry.