“Why do you do this?” I asked her.
We were walking through the front doors at church, on our way to our cars in the parking lot and the rest of Monday. We’d just set up the sanctuary with food to fill 80 summer hampers for families from the inner city schools in our community: Noodles and Kraft dinner and fresh red apples and sliced bread and pancake mix and syrup. Cans of beans and jars of spaghetti sauce and pasta and fishy crackers and so much more. Enough to fill two recyclable shopping bags to overflowing.
This, food for families in our community, so the kids won’t go (too) hungry once school is out for summer. Once the feeding program at the schools isn’t there to help fill their tummies.
Daniela had organized it all, with Loretta Hibbs, our Community Care pastor. I’d just stopped by with the four-year-old to help a bit in the morning. Danny had even bought bubbles and sidewalk chalk to place in the bags. O, how she cares.
So, why do you do it? I ask.
“I just know what it’s like to be hungry … It’s my heart to help these kids who don’t have food.”
We pause on the ramp outside church, with the noise of traffic on 152nd Street in our ears and the knowing that there’s food on the tables in the sanctuary, food that will feed hungry families this summer.
“What did it feel like when you were hungry?” I ask.
She pauses. Thinks. Remembers.
“It felt lonely. It felt like no-one cared … And I feel like doing this shows that someone cares.”
Danny orders the food for the hampers and organizes teams to help set it up. Most of the hampers get distributed to families through the inner city schools our church have adopted; some get hand-delivered.
What do you think about when you buy the food for the hampers?
“I think about what we needed when we didn’t have food on the table and what would’ve been nice to find in the pantry … in the fridge.”
I know some of her story–she’s my friend–but to hear it again, to stand there in the middle of the morning with her as she remembers the loneliness, I am drawn into the bigger story of this woman who Loves. The Kraft dinner becomes more than noodles and cheese sauce to be stirred and cooked in a pot. It comes from the heart and tears and prayers of a little girl, wishing into the future that no other child in her community would have to suffer like she once did.
Yep. She’s pretty awesome. An ordinary woman, just like us, doing her part. You can follow Daniela’s blog at danielaschwartz.com