One Bag of Food at a Time

One Bag of Food at a Time

There are some amazing statistics that speak to the importance of our efforts together at Despensa de la Paz. In the first nine months of this year, Despensa served 1,603 families totaling 5,947 individuals. Of these 5,947 individuals, 2,846 of them were children.  It is amazing to think how far this mission has come in a year of operation.  That being said, it’s also important to remember that statistics don’t tell the whole story.  We still hand out food one bag at a time, and we still offer hope one conversation and one hug at a time to one human being at a time.  For us, at least as important as meeting the need for nutrition and sustenance is meeting the need for human contact and the reminder that our lives all matter.  It is equally important that we remind people that they have something to offer and that they are loved.  One way that we try to do that is to invite everyone who receives something from Despensa to come back be a part of the mission by helping us to help others.  We invite every client to impact us as much as we impact them.

An example of this comes to mind.  A woman named, Georgia, came to Despensa a few weeks ago, clearly at the end of her rope.  Her eyes gave away a deep anxiety with her life situation.  I don’t know exactly what it was that caused her to break open that Saturday, but she clearly just couldn’t keep her sense of despair inside anymore.  It was bigger than she was.  And as she sat at the intake table, it began to come out; first in words, then in tears, and then in sobs.  Several volunteers gathered around her nearly moved to tears themselves.  Words of hope and reassurance passed between them, and with those words went their substance.  Our intake person that day, a man named David, told her how much she mattered to us, not just with words, but with actions.  We prayed with her.  We got her a hot cup of coffee and a little something to eat.  A woman who volunteers who was once in her shoes hugged her and whispered words of hope to her.  And another amazing volunteer named, Yami (13-years-old), took her by the hand and led her through the process, listening to her and reminding her that she was loved simply in the way that Yami treated her as a treasure. I got the sense that no one had treated her as treasure in a very long time.

Before she left, several volunteers asked her to come back the next week and help us to help others.  The next time we saw Georgia, she was beaming.  She was changed.  She not only came back to volunteer, she brought three friends from the neighborhood to volunteer with her.  Her sense of hope was back in her eyes.  She did a fabulous job that day of being our first point of intake for clients.  She could identify and connect with people in a warm and unique way simply because she had sat where they sat just two weeks before, and she naturally touched the hearts of others in the same way that her heart had been touched.  Georgia has moved from being the object of our mission to being the subject of it.  That movement is absolutely central to who we are as a mission.  She was changed, and now she is changing us.  Amazing.  While our statistics are incredibly encouraging, it is also important to remember that every life matters, and that we still hand out food one bag at a time.

Thank you to everyone who supports Despensa de la Paz in a thousand different and equally important ways.  Your generosity in time, talent, and treasure changes lives every day.

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