Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hot Dog Buns and...Grace

Every Thursday I volunteer with some other Laurier students at Why Not City Missions - a place where the hungry, the homeless, the mentally ill,  the young, and the old, and all thats in between can come and be welcome for some free food, a warm place, and some good company. They have just moved from their old building which was actually a store front, to a new building that feels more like a home than anything else (well thats what it was before Why Not bought it!). There is even a shower for those that can not receive one otherwise! They are still in the process of organizing, painting, and fixing up the new place - but it will have its first opening on monday... and that is definetly exciting! I have only seen Why Not in its transition mode - so I am excited to be a part of its every-day functioning as well, and to be able to build relationships with the people that come!

Tonight we helped move some boxes and do some organizing, and then helped run their evening program - a hog dog/pizza meal program for anyone that is in need. We ran it for the first time out of the back of the new building - and although not as many people came as there usually is, we still got quite a crowd!
I tried to swing being in charge of dispensing the ketchup, but ended up being delegated to relish duty... which was alright - but it is the most awkward job because you have to use a spoon and spreading the relish can be quite the feat! I got  numerous comments on my relish-spreading skills... :D

We had a lot of hot dogs (but no pizza today) and people were able to come back for seconds, thirds, and even fourths! I myself had three (volunteers get to eat too but I know.. three!!! :O) and we were done the hotdogs by 7 (it started at 6:30)!

However, just as we finished giving out the last hot dog - another person arrived. He was probably in his early 20's and wore dirty, baggy clothes. He was carrying multiple plastic/garbage bags, as if he was carrying his whole life around with him, but aside from that he was just a regular guy. He came and asked if there was any hot dogs left, and we had to tell him no. The look in his eyes was enough to get me, but when his next words were, "Can I have the leftover buns?" I felt heartbroken, and guilty. If only I hadn't eaten 1, let alone 3!! hotdogs... there would have been some left for him. I could tell that he was really in need, really hungry. There was a desperate, defeated, ashamed feel to him... One of the other volunteers handed him a  bag of buns, and feeling like I needed to do something I told him that there was still juice and hot coffee available. He grabbed some and went and sat on a bench off to the side, and everyone went back to packing up and cleaning the tables, moving things inside etc.

I couldn't get him off my mind as I went about helping.. how could there be someone so desperate in our community? someone that hungry? I still feel incredible sadness as I write about him, but we were able to help him a bit more.  I expressed my concerns to another volunteer who had been volunteering there for years, and she encouraged me to talk to one of the leaders there, a man named Dave. I told him what happened and how I felt he was really in need,  and Dave asked me if he was homeless or had a place to live. I had no idea, so Dave went and talked with him. Although I really wanted to know the details, I didn't press but saw that Dave gathered together a package of food from the emergency food bank and gave it to the man. I felt soo thankful that we were able to help him - but it still breaks my heart that there are people that struggle to get the next meal in our seemingly wealthy society. I mean, I knew that before(I worked with at-risk/homeless youth over the summer) but its when you are looking into the eyes of a person that society has let fall through the cracks, a person just like you that is in such need-  that life really comes into focus and you know what it is God asks of you. And I know why it is I volunteer there, and how much more I need to grow - in my faith, and as a person.

To love. To Serve. To go. To live life in a way that doesn't make sense to the world.

I need to pray - that man is still weighing heavily on my heart and mind.


  1. Brie,
    I think you had an incredible experience.
    Hard, yes. Sounds like God used that moment to reveal to you how desperate the need is around you and how you have a very real role to play in it. (Just as I do...)
    That example is a perfect picture of the self indulgence that pretty much all of us in North America routinely practice without question, despite the brutal need in the rest of the world.
    There is a verse in Romans that says, its His kindness that leads us to repentance, and that He disciplines the one's He loves..
    God's kindness is in that moment, bc He wants you to be more like Jesus...and the beauty of that, is that tho that moment has passed you, you can still choose to respond to asking and allowing God to continue His work in your heart..this feels very you. (:L

  2. Thanks Lace, I really appreciate that you take the time to comment on my posts, and that you speak the truth in love and give words of encouragement! I am so thankful to have you as my sister:)