I’m Just Saying: Youth deliver a buggy full of love

Published 3:13 pm Thursday, January 25, 2018

Shameless brag alert.

It’s very much a ‘warm fuzzy’ when you see a group of folks collecting money during a church service for the needy, count out the total amount, determine the most needed items to be purchased with their budget, clip coupons giving them more bang for their bucks, do the actual shopping and deliver their foodstuffs back to the pantry (Thermal Belt Outreach), all in the same day.

Exhausting? You bet.

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Naps taken? Well, for one of them it was mandatory.

Because these folks were the youngest members of Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Tryon, N.C., and aged 3 through 10. While their parents and a couple of adult volunteers did the actual driving (very hard to see over the steering wheel, even with a booster seat) these children spent pretty much their entire Saturday deep in thought, and along with a little horseplay (pushing each other around in the Lidl grocery carts), actively choosing groceries that would benefit families–including children their own age who might go without.

It’s difficult for a child in a stable situation to understand and empathize what it’s like for another child to go to bed hungry, to attempt to study on an empty stomach, to be too embarrassed to invite a friend home for a sleep over. But when they arrived at the food pantry, opened especially for them that afternoon to unload the nearly 600 pounds of food they had purchased, George, the manager, lowered himself to their level on one knee and explained why people find themselves in need in the first place.

“Sometimes a mom or dad loses their job,” he said to an audience of five pairs of eyes that widened considerably as he went on. “Sometimes, a mom or dad leaves, or gets too sick to work, or even dies, and there’s just not enough money to buy food.”

The fidgeting, only too normal after a rather long day, suddenly stopped as the words were taken in. The unthinkable in regards to their own world became unpleasantly considered for a few moments as the magnitude of their offering grew before them.

Relieved to be dismissed, the remainder of their day was theirs–including a birthday party to attend, a favorite movie to watch, dinner to wonder about…

But this Saturday they’re going to be at it again.

Yes, it takes a village to raise a child.

And sometimes it takes a child to raise our awareness.