Saturday, May 19, 2012

SCAT Food Delivery/May - Week 20


My mom with 3/5 of her grandkids.
A generational service project.


Where I Went:
I’ve made a monthly commitment to deliver food from St. Matthew Lutheran Church’s ministry Special Church/Community Action Team (SCAT). So far, I’ve been twice - once on Week 13 of my 2012 experiment, and the other on Week 15. 
The mission of SCAT is to:
  • Deliver 5-7 days worth of nutritious food and basic household items tailored to meet specific dietary needs of low-income residents referred by Care to Share (CTS) or Oregon Food Bank (OFB). Delivery services are intended for those who are elderly, ill, disabled or without transportation.
  • Operate "shopping-style" pantries that provide 5-7 days worth of a variety of nutritious food choices as well as basic household items for referred families. Walk-ins are provided a limited amount of emergency food and contact information for CTS. It is our policy that no one leaves our building without food, whether or not they have a referral.
  • Provide traditional Christmas food baskets and gifts to economically disadvantaged families in Beaverton and surrounding areas.
First Impressions:
I always look forward to volunteer assignments that allow my two daughters to help. My mom is visiting this week from Phoenix and watching my 5 year old nephew while my sister traveled for work. I asked them to come along on our delivery jaunt.
The Job:
We arrived at the SCAT building and my eldest gave her cousin and grandmother a tour while I gathered orders and made calls to confirm delivery times. In the past, we’ve delivered to a few houses, but this time I found an order for just one family. I breathed a sigh of relief. I wasn’t sure packing food for a long period of time would hold my nephew’s attention. With just one family’s order to fill, we’d be done packing in 20 minutes.
My youngest wasn’t feeling well, so I had her sit to the side while the rest of us settled into our jobs. I pulled out the food from the various refrigerators and freezers, my nephew and mother ran the food to my eldest, and she arranged the food in boxes. 
The 5 year old lost focus after about 15 minutes, but mustered up enough energy to choose dessert for the family of 4 we’d be delivering to that night. I suggested the box of doughnuts.
“No, I want the doughnuts!” My nephew was adamant. There was whining involved.
“Sorry, buddy, those aren’t for us. We get to pick something yummy for the family that gets all this food.”
He picked out bran and carrot muffins.
“Okay, bud, those are good. But how about if we give them the doughnuts, too.”
In typical 5 year old stomps and crossed arms, he showed me that if he didn’t get a doughnut - no one else would get one either. Luckily, there were plenty of other sugary delights to choose from. 

Dear Family We Delivered To:
I hope you enjoyed the apple pie and strawberry tartlets. You probably didn’t want day old doughnuts anyway, did you?
Notice the box of doughnuts right at his eye level.
Mom and I packed the car, packed the kids, and we were off to our one delivery stop. I circled a few times before finally finding the location, where the cutest ever, 9 month old baby and her grandmother sat in the shade awaiting our arrival.
The kids tumbled out of the SUV, I handed everyone a box to carry inside, and we plopped them down on the table and where we could find room on the floor. This tiny apartment housed 3 adults and 1 baby. Baby’s playpen and a T.V. took the center of the living room. A sleeping bag was a bed for one of those adults and another slept on a couch made up into a sleeping space. 
I watched my daughters and nephew make silly faces at the baby. Her infectious giggles  caused all of us to smile. Immediately I wished and hoped that baby would be happy like this always. I shot up a little prayer:
Please, God, let this child grow up in an environment where it doesn’t matter what the sleeping arrangements are. Let her be raised in a house full of love - regardless of the family’s income.
How to Help:
If you’d like any information about helping with the SCAT food pantry, please comment on this blog post and I’ll get you contact information.
My favorite part about volunteering with St. Matthew’s food pantry ministry is being able to serve with my kids. Not only do they get to “grocery shop” for another family, but they get to witness living conditions very different from our own. Observing my nephew this week, I saw that even a 5 year old can learn to help others.
I pray that as the kids mature, their hearts grow in compassion. How wonderful it will be if they can turn into teenagers that have the “nature of a servant.” Is that too much to ask?
This is hanging in the bathroom at SCAT.
I love this!
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