A lot of us have struggled to hang on to hope the last few years.
Last night I had the opportunity to be with some of the young people who have gathered each Tuesday to prepare a meal for the homeless in our community.
A couple from our church fellowship made the decision a few years ago to make a meal for the homeless in our community. (Our local community works with an organization, Hundred Nights, that provides a variety of services including shelter for those that are homeless. Our fellowship, Abundant Grace Fellowship, has been a supporter for the last 4 years, but this family took it upon themselves to make a meal each week to feed the 80-100 people who show up for lunch.) A while ago, they began to invite the neighborhood children to participate in the preparation of these meals.
And what started out to be sandwiches and cookies, last night, was homemade corn chowder and cakes. When I arrived, young people were cutting up potatoes, onions (Straight from the freezer!), and celery. One young woman was learning to make the roux, and the kids were being taught how to prepare the gallons of corn chowder.
After the initial preps, they cleaned the table and the floor. The kids began to play games, including chess and listen to music, before the pizzas and salad were ready. When the food came out there was no mad rush, but respect for one another. (One child was on crutches and another got his plate for him.) Quiet conversations accompanied the eating After the food and the table was cleared, the kids went back to games.
People often ask me why I have hope. One of my reasons is young people.
Some of my friends might say “WHAT???”
Look, I know they may not vote like me, believe like me or even like me some days. And I know that concerns some, but it does not concern me. I have to believe that if we love people and are kind to them, even in our differences, we will be able to work together.
These young people have all gone through a rough time or two. I am sure the idea of someone being homeless or having what is called food insecurity, is not new to them. Getting together to help others makes sense to them.
Help them learn
Teaching them to be respectful and to honor others is something we can model and encourage them to do the same. (One of the youngest even asked when we would have church again.*)
Last night I had conversations with a lot of them. The talks included school and grades, fun and cars, the Super Bowl and halftime show, music, romance, and places they wanted to visit. Real conversations with some great young people.
If you want to gain hope, spend some time with some young people. And you might just learn some things.
Lee is the owner of Positive News For You. He is also the senior leader of Abundant Grace Fellowship Church in Keene, New Hampshire.
*Pre-COVID, we met in a motel but that changed with COVID. While having a new space would be desirable, we cannot change our budget when we do so many things like this.
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