Stephanie Pearce: Days at St. Michael’s Community Kitchen
It’s Tuesday morning and I’m hurrying to get my daughter and myself out the door. We quickly walk in the building and can already hear laughing and the hum of conversation. There’s people sitting at tables drinking coffee and in the kitchen there’s a crew of people prepping food. We are welcomed with smiles and our names being called. The small crew gives us hugs and we get right to work.
We chat and laugh as we get a meal ready. My daughter makes sure there’s enough plates and silverware for everyone. Then she walks around with a coffee pot or water pitcher and gives refills to those waiting. The people there are so nice and they talk with my daughter and ask her about her week. After months of this, these people become like family. They feel invested in her and worry about her if she misses a day of serving them. You would think we were in a restaurant, but no, we were at St. Michael’s Kitchen.
We participated weekly in the kitchen for a couple of years. I learned a lot about myself and my faith while we were there. I wanted my daughter to learn more about giving, but as with any lesson when you give, you receive so much more.
We made so many friendships there. There were the elderly people whose eyes would light up when my daughter came to talk to them. There were the young kids that would look up to her as she served and want to be just like her. There were the people we worked with who became invested in her and still to this day come to cheer her on in anything she does. These people changed our lives more than we will ever change theirs.
It was when I was volunteering there that I realized that when you think you have nothing to give, God will take even the littlest gift you have and make it huge. You will also be blessed more than double of what you give.
I remember some days when we weren’t sure if we would have enough food prepared for all the people coming in. One of the ladies would pray and we would either have more food donated that was already prepared or we would have just enough to feed the very last person.
The same sweet lady would quote Mother Teresa a lot. When she would see my daughter mingling with the patrons, she would quote Mother Teresa and say, “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” It is so true and children have such a way of giving of themselves without judging.
If you’re looking for a way to give back or even to change your outlook on life, I challenge you to volunteer at the kitchen. I’m sure they would love to see you there and I’m sure your life will be better off for it. Just remember these quotes from Mother Teresa when you go: 1. “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” 2. “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”
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