May 4 – As we have written about before, we volunteered for the Harvesters’ distribution of food each month. We have been very fortunate during all of the winter months, as we have not missed even one distribution day because of cold or snow or even rain! I think of God’s goodness as we have bright days for the giving of food.After the truck has driven off, and the parking lot has been cleared of all of the extra cardboard boxes, which are burned in the location behind the church, the area looks clean again. THEN we see and hear the beginning tiny rain drops that soon grow into a shower while all of the volunteers are on their way home, not getting one bit wet from the rain! A number of times, early in the week, we have seen on the news that there will be rain on Wednesday, our food distribution day. I’m glad that the predictions made by the weathermen aren’t always correct!
During our most recent trip, the Harvesters crew were trying a new plan.. In all of the years we have been volunteers, the huge truck drives up into the church parking lot, the truck doors on both sides of the truck are quickly opened, the tables set up, and we volunteers get to work piling up the items in our particular section. Soon we are ready for Jim to go out to the road and send the vehicles on their way to the food tables. From there, they drive around to the other side of the truck and receive more food waiting for them.I don’t know who thought up the new way of handing out the food this time, but it was different enough that many more pounds of food could be given out. Paul, the genial, always-smiling driver, stacked some pallets together at the back of the open truck; then Dennis, who with his wife Pam, were the originators of this Harvesters plan at our church, had brought his tractor several miles from the church and scooped up the pallets, and placed them all along the parking lot in a semi-circle.
Mike, another one of the volunteers, helped guide Dennis to the dropping-off place and kept other folks out of the way of the tractor and scoop, lest they suffer injury! Speaking of Mike, when we arrived at the parking lot before the action began, I took some seed catalogs over to him, catalogs that Dale receives so many of. Both of those guys are avid catalog readers, always looking for something new to plant!
At the same time I gave to Donnalene a plastic bag of books for her small grandchildren. I think I mentioned James in an earlier blog. He is the really cute little guy who just turned five, and always greets me with a big smile and a hopeful question, “You got books?”By the time we were ready to start the distribution, the vehicles with their occupants were part of the line that stretched way up the hill. As I thought of the kinds of food that we passed out to the folks, I was both pleased and surprised at the variety and amounts. Now this is just from my remembrance, as checked by Dale (and we probably forgot some). There were big watermelons, apples, blueberries, grapes, grapefruits, huge oranges, tangerines, plums, strawberries, lemons, limes, mangoes, tomatoes, fruit and vegetable trays, lettuce, bagged salads, mushrooms, garlic, soft drinks, brown eggs, donuts, muffins, cakes, all kinds of crackers, and yogurt! Through the years we’ve become friends with many of those who receive the food. If I happen to be close to the car, I will quickly move over to shake hands or give a hug to the driver. This last time, I was behind the big box trying to reach way down to the bottom to bring up the last of the food, when I heard somebody calling me, I nearly fell back into the box, but was able to get back to my feet and hurry over to give the driver a big hug. I really think I enjoy the hugs and good wishes more than anything else on Harvesters’ Day! But I will never take for granted the wonderful work that the organization does in so many areas. – CHRIS