“My mom’s going to be so proud of me!” This sentence has been on my mind lately. It was said by one of the Harrison Primary Center students last year. This child was holding a brown paper bag that had a can of peas, a can of tuna and a box of macaroni & cheese.
This eight year old child was going to bring home dinner.
And he knew that his mom was going to be so proud of him!
I like to think that my kids know that I’m their number one fan. I tell them all the time. I don’t get tired of it. I’ve reminded them of that when a state championship has been won or a report card is outstanding. I’ve reminded them of that when a band concert was amazing or an athletic scholarship has been offered. I’ve reminded them of that as they give me a tour of the classroom they teach in which happens to be 3,316 miles away from home or pick up a guitar to teach themselves how to play. Our family’s had a busy year and one with many exciting things happening.
I bet you can think of a time, just this week, that your child made you proud. I love that feeling. But as exciting as all of the things I mentioned above sound, I cannot help but think that these things sound trivial. Maybe trivial is not the right word. I feel like I’m spoiled. Especially when I remember that our basic needs of food, clothing and shelter are met. That makes it easy to celebrate my children for who they are and the cool things they are doing.
Last week, I was tallying up how much food we have already and figuring out how much we still need. I decided I needed to find out how Jesus fed 5,000 people! I opened the Bible to John 6 to find the story. Jesus knows that the people are coming and that there are going to be tons of them! He asks Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” I was surprised that I hadn’t realized before that Jesus started that conversation. The NIV translation says that Jesus wanted to “test” the disciples, knowing already what He was going to do. I sat there for a while, thinking about this and talking to God about this. God does have a plan for this. And I totally trust that He can help make this happen.
91.7% of students at Harrison Primary Center and 88.9% of the students at Lincoln Primary Center qualify for free and/or reduced lunches (these are numbers from last year). That means that these families are at or below poverty level. Many days, approximately 1,253 students eat their only meal of the day at these two schools.
These kids have families whose basic needs are not able to be met. When an eight year old knows his mom is going to be “proud of me” because he or she can put food on their table, then I wonder what other opportunities they have to celebrate life together. Are their parents or grandparents working so hard to put food on the table that they miss seeing their child at bat? Are their parents or grandparents working so hard to buy that winter coat for the child that they themselves are without a coat to stand at the bus stop with them? Are their parents or grandparents working so hard to patch that hole in the roof that they cannot afford music lessons or travel teams? Those extra ways that we do life together with our kids that are “everyday” to us. Maybe a meal provided would allow a mom to sit down at the table and ask, “How did you do on your spelling test today?”…something she’s been meaning to ask but didn’t have the time to. Maybe she could say “I’m your number one fan! Keep it up!”
We only have a few more Sundays for our food drive. Currently we still need 681 cans of peas, 296 cans of tuna and 434 boxes of macaroni and cheese to meet our goal of sending home a brown paper bag, holding the makings of a casserole dinner, to every student at these two schools.
This sounds like a lot of food left to collect! But in John 6, we see that Jesus already had a plan then. He was able to feed over 5,000 with two fish and five loaves of bread. Last Sunday, a family walked in with enough stuff to fill 48 bags. On Tuesday, I got a phone call from someone who’s family who had money left at the end of the month and purchased cans and boxes to fill 40 bags. I heard another story of a child asking her mom, “Can we buy three more boxes of macaroni & cheese, please?”
I believe we can make this happen.
His plan may include you! Think about it. Pray about it. Can you buy a few cans or boxes in the next few weeks and help our collection multiply into what is needed? We also can purchase food through our Clay Church food pantry’s connection with the Food Bank. If you’d like to make a monetary donation, we can fill a bag for about $1.50. Anything you would like to offer can be brought to the FaithWorks! Center on Sundays through December 9 or to the FaithWorks! office by December 14. (Our office is located at the Firehouse Youth Center.)
My kids may tire of hearing that I’m their number one fan, but I don’t think they really do. I don’t think any child would tire of hearing that. I believe we have a God who’s saying, “I’m your number one fan!” and is encouraging us to help our friends at Harrison and Lincoln Primary Centers have a full belly at least once over winter break. And in the mean time help parents be parents.