* 5th street ministry …

Posted on April 20th, 2010 by melinda in The Church House

The other day in this post, I showed you some pictures of our youth service project to 5th street ministries.  I also said that I would tell you more about it later, later has arrived. 

I learned about 5th street ministries from several of my co workers who have volunteered there with their own churches.   I truly truly enjoy service projects outside of our church house.  I love doing things at our church but deep down inside I have a need to be out of those four walls and doing  something to hopefully someday make a difference in just one persons life.  Call me a weirdo, it’s ok. 

When I called 5th street to arrange a time for us to come, the sweetest lady ever answered the phone.  Her name is Mary.  I haven’t met Mary in person yet, but I can’t wait to meet her.  Just the kindness in her voice makes me want to sit down and talk to her for a very long time.  We picked a date and time (the time had to be changed later but that was ok).  I asked our youth about going and I have to say they did me proud.  The majority of them had a rodeo that night, their first one of the year, but they were more than willing to skip it if necessary in order to go.  It ended up they didn’t have to, but I was proud of them for their willingness. 

We would be serving lunch on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.  We arrived at 5th street in time to help get things set up and ready for the folks to come eat.  Upon our arrival, we first met with Steve …

Steve is the kitchen boss.  By kitchen boss, I mean … as far as Steve is concerned it’s his kitchen and you are to follow his kitchen rules.  It tickled me.  I nearly caused mass panic when I opened the refrigerator and retrieved the milk to thin the macaroni a little bit.  I may have gotten the stink eye, I’m not sure, but the milk quickly made its way back to the fridge without my assistance. 

The staff runs things like a fine oiled machine.  The is served in what looks very much like a lunch room cafeteria.  The kids served each person a plate as they came thru the line, drinks were outside the food line along with dessert.  I asked lots and lots of questions, yes I know that is a shock.  My first question was: where does all of the food come from?  I was informed that it comes from donations from churches, grocery stores, individuals, civic groups and so on.  While we were there working, a truck came in with food from a local deli that was left over and donated, the staff, most of whom live there and have worked their way up to a paying job, unloaded it and put it away to be served for dinner that night.  The entire process went like clock work.  I was highly impressed at the level of organization.

After the folks ate, each person brought their plate, silver ware and cup to a dish washing counter, again much like a school cafeteria.  Andre was in charge of the dish washing section.  Me, I was not in charge, according to Andre.  I know this because he politely asked me to get out of his way more than once.  Evidently I am not a master of bulk dish washing skills.  I did manage to sneak around him and stack the plates and cups in the handy holder things, and the boys did manage to wrangle the spray thing away from Andre long enough for him to actually eat.  But … as soon as he was finished eating, they were sent packing too.  Andre had plans for the day and we were slowing him down.  Each person who lives at the shelter has an assigned job, they cannot get on with their day until their job is complete, thus Andre, was ready to get on with his day and wanted the do gooders to move along with our day.  I actually really liked Andre, he was a man on a mission and I like people on a mission.  It was also obvious that he was no stranger to hard work being done at a rapid pace. 

After we completed everything we were asked to do, we said goodbye and went on our way.  I left there ready to go back again, soon.  I wish our county had a shelter and food kitchen.  The folks there were very kind.  One lady asked me what I planned to do with my beautiful Saturday and I replied that I would be going home to mow grass … she smiled and simply said … I wish I still had a yard to mow.  I didn’t get to ask her name, I wish I had.  The most impacting part of the day for me was this:  being honest, I had preconceived notions of the people we would meet and serve at 5th street.  I was so wrong.  They were people just the same as you and me.  Families, children, young people, all walks of life.  I certainly gained a better understanding of just how the economy has affected all sections of society. 

If you ever get a chance to go, please do.  It will be worth your time and effort. 


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