On the freezing cold morning of Monday, February 16th, eight WCUC youth and three parents bundled up and headed to Maynard’s Open Table Food Pantry to find that warm hearts and working hands made for a perfect escape from this bitter blast. We were greeted by two volunteer coordinators who made us feel at home and quickly put us to work. Some sorted and bagged produce, others worked on the cereal and baby food shelves checking expiration dates and repairing packaging if necessary, and others received deliveries and sorted/shelved bread, pastries, milk, and other goods. This was all done in preparation for the evening “shopping” that happens every Monday night during the free dinner that’s hosted by Maynard’s Open Table. People who come for dinner are also invited to come down to the pantry to get some food for the week. On this particular Monday, it was especially important to have a full pantry since the previous three Mondays were closed due to the snowstorms!
As a follow up activity, the youth joined forces with WCUC preschool and school age children to decorate and assemble over 100 gifts bags with assorted kid food to be donated to Maynard’s Open Table. These bags are offered in the pantry for families to pick up as a sort of fun, kid-friendly, addition to the regular staples for the week. This project was supported by WCUC Missions team who generously gave their time to buy the goods and also their dollars to pay for both the goods and the bags. Filling, decorating, and delivering these bags at the beginning of Lent was a valuable exercise in remembering our call from God to love and serve our neighbor. As is most often the case, when we take time out of our busy lives to pause and think about the needs of others, we all are served well. I might even dare to say that our trip to Maynard’s Open Table on that cold Monday in February was the highlight of my “vacation week”.