I live in a nice neighborhood. Quiet streets with well-kept yards, a safe place to walk dogs and a nice variety of stores and restaurants nearby. A peaceful place to come home to every night.
But under this seeming tranquility is a problem. The problem of hunger. There is hunger in my neighborhood-literally down the street and within walking distance of my house. Hunger is alive and “well” in Knoxville, Tennessee.
FISH Ministries at Ascension, tries to do something to help with that. The third and fourth Thursdays of every month, a dedicated band of volunteers gather to take orders by phone and deliver bags of food(pre-packed by another set of dedicated volunteers)to hungry families. Many are disabled, ill or have no cars. Some of the requests we get(in addition to food) would break your heart. Toiletries. Detergent. Diapers. Almost every order includes a request for diapers and not just for babies. Food stamps don’t pay for diapers. Imagine having to decide between diapers and food.
But this is not an unhappy ministry. We laugh, share news of what’s happened since we last met, and rejoice in births, graduations and the total recovery of a beloved grandson from cancer(GO HUGO!) We get to know certain families who call and rejoice with them as well. The woman whose daughter and grandsons escaped domestic violence. The couple whose fixed income is often stretched but always greet us with a smile. And then there’s the woman who wept for joy when we told her because we had dog food to bring, she wouldn’t have to get rid of her beloved pet. I think I speak for all FISH volunteers at Ascension when I say we are fed as well-in lessons of gratitude.
The reason I share this with you, is that there are so many calls and not enough delivery teams. More teams could mean more people are fed, and we would certainly welcome your help. All you need is a few hours a month, a car and a basic knowledge of the city. Oh, and a wide smile and a loving heart, but you already have those. This is how it works. You come by our pantry next to the Sunday School rooms,(Did you know we were there?) choose the orders for neighborhoods where you wish to go and pick up your bags. We travel in teams of two, adding to the fun. You deliver the food and you’re done. That’s it. We’d love to have you join us. And the rewards are legion. If you’re interested, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
For you see, my brothers and sisters, there is hunger in my neighborhood. And while you may not know it, it’s in yours too.
Kerri Seaton/Coordinator of Ascension FISH Volunteers