As the Christmas season drew closer, I began to wonder: how can three generations of our family (some from out-of-state) serve others so we look beyond ourselves? Meals from the Heartland came immediately to mind for the way it encompasses compassion, action and impact.
Once our reservation was made, I decided to keep the details a surprise. As our shift neared, intrigue and anticipation of family members escalated. It was so fun to see! The night of our shift, most of our family enjoyed the blessing of riding together. Others were simply given the address and asked to meet up by a certain time.
“Wow, what a great idea!” “What does this experience look like?” and “I didn’t even know this was here.” were among the sentiments shared upon discovering what our family time entailed.
In the spirit of transparency, I must admit: I was a little nervous and wondered how well we’d work together – how grace-filled and patient with one another we’d be. Silent prayer transformed anxiety into peacefulness as I observed God work. Our family proceeded slowly, confidently and with our senses of humor activated. Our tendency to be competitive – to seal more bags or pack more boxes than other groups – faded into the background along with the Christmas music. Free of pressure and captured by the joy found in serving, some of us shared stories and memories while others cracked jokes.
Seeing the wall noting all the countries served by Meals from the Heartland broadened perspectives and motivated us to continue working harmoniously alongside each other until our two-hour shift was over.
Collectively, one of our most memorable moments came from the realization that one bag of Hearty Pack feeds six people. It was beautiful to see that fact sink into each family member’s mind at varying times. It reinforced just how blessed we are, how easily we take our blessings for granted and how humbling it is to be reminded.
Weeks later, we learned that the meals packed two days before Christmas were sent to KY, as part of a disaster relief effort after a massive tornado resulted in widespread severe weather across the region. How meaningful to find out that our efforts helped a community in our own country! Thank you for the opportunity to share our family’s experience and for providing a place to roll up our sleeves and take action.