Seasons of Abundance
Ahhh! Cooks around the country breathe a satisfied sigh of relief. Another Thanksgiving is under our belts…. in more ways than one. Thankful for our blessings we have feasted and now take a moment to smile before sliding into the next season of giving.
This Thanksgiving my family gathered and enjoyed a traditional holiday meal. Our time together was a reminder of how much we have been given and how richly God has blessed our lives. Though the economy has been better and the future seems less certain than it did in times past we have eaten well this week and been blessed with the warmth and presence of friends and family. Our house and most especially our kitchen seem to be overflowing with the abundance of the season.
As we nibble on leftovers and scramble for the last slices of pie my mind races ahead to preparations for the holidays soon to come. There are Christmas and New Year’s plans to make. There are special dinners to be prepared, appetizers and party fare to be shared, cookies to be baked and gifts to be made. As we finish the Thanksgiving leftovers I am also mindful that we need to clean things up and make room for what comes next.
Looking through my cabinets there is an extra can of this and an extra bag of that, things I picked up on sale or items I bought but didn't get around to using. I am reminded of Jesus with the loaves and fishes. After all had eaten their fill, the scraps were gathered and there were twelve baskets full. Sometimes I wonder what to do with it all. Abundance brings challenges of its own.
Every Penny and Pound
In Clark County Washington the local service organizations come together just after Thanksgiving to offer residents a special opportunity to share some of that seasonal abundance. This event generates a lot of excitement in the community. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to get together on the first Saturday in December for a project that strives to fill area food banks to overflowing. This community effort is known as Walk & Knock. Last year it collected over 140 tons of food and $35,000 in cash donations used to purchase additional food. All of this was accomplished by volunteers. Walk & Knock is 100% privately funded. Every penny and pound of food collected goes to feed needy individuals in Clark County.
My family has been participating in this food drive for years now. I clean out my post-Thanksgiving pantry carefully bagging any item I didn’t use for Thanksgiving, haven’t used in the past six months or can’t remember why I bought and offer it to those who can make good use of it, community members who are having a hard time making ends meet in this economy, people who need to know that someone cares.
Knock and the Door...
My family also volunteers to pick up food door to door and bring it back to the collection site. Last year I tagged along camera in hand:
First, volunteers assemble at designated sites.
Coffee and sweet rolls are provided for those who feel short on breakfast.
Collection groups are organized.
Maps are handed out and strategies developed.
Volunteers spread throughout the community to collect food.
Bags are collected at every door.
Where there are no bags volunteers are encouraged to knock and ask.
Food collected is brought back to the collection point to be sorted and boxed.
A cup of hot chili is prepared and served to hungry volunteers.
Volunteers disperse, satisfied with a job well done.
This year's Walk & Knock food drive will be held on Saturday, December 5, 2009. If you live in Clark County, WA take advantage of this opportunity to clean out your pantry and get your kitchen cabinets in order before the holiday cooking and baking begins. Pick up a few extra items if you can, like tuna fish or peanut butter, and set it all out on your front porch early that Saturday morning.
Once your bag is out (collection begins at 9am) grab your coat, hat and gloves and join your neighbors and other great people in our community at one of the staging sites to help out. Have some coffee. Join a collection team. Have a conversation. Make a friend. You will go home full, knowing the generosity of the human heart and taking with you the first gift of the season, a certain knowledge that it is better to give than to receive.