Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Feeding the Hungry

People signing in for food boxes
Our first direct service to local people took place Tuesday and Wednesday.  Br. Craig and I helped with the local distribution of the government commodities in Grainger County.  This distribution only takes place four times a year and has tight economic rules on who can receive it or not. 
checking the tally

On Tuesday, Br. Craig was joined by several high school students from Washburn High School and several local folks who have helped with this program for a long time.  These volunteers unloaded the truck and made up the grocery boxes.  The folks were getting several can goods and some juice.  Wednesday, I found many singing the praises of Br. Craig.  The most common phrase, "What a nice and gentle man." 

Packing boxes
My task on Wednesday was to carry the boxes out to the cars for the people. When I arrived at 8 a.m. the line was wrapped around the building.  Distribution did not begin until nine, but people knew that the later in the day, the less food in the boxes.  The volunteers were great to work with.  Two of them came out of the line to help us once they realized that in the beginning there was only four of us to carry boxes to the car for people.  They worked very hard without complaining.  The people receiving the boxes were extremely grateful. 

One of the side  benefits, was many volunteers were curious about who I was and yesterday who Craig was.  Where will the church be?  How many Catholics actually live here?  There were questions of curiosity and interest.  Nothing negative was expressed or said. 

The local director of the program
In the end over 460 boxes of commodities were shared.  According the local director, that was the most in her experience ever given away.  She says the number of people receiving commodities has been increasing every time.

These two days were a great introduction to the some of the  people in Grainger County.  With God's grace maybe things may change in the future.  Either way, hopefully the smiles and warm greetings of Br. Craig, myself and the other volunteers lifted a few spirits. 

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