When the kids ask the age-old question “What’s for dinner?” I can almost guarantee that at least one of the five will not be happy (or let’s say less than excited) about the answer. I can more than “almost” guarantee that if I say peanut butter and jelly all of them would be disapproving. Now, I have wonderful kids and I’m not bashing them here…it’s just about perspective. Brian and I recently made a home delivery of summer breakfasts and lunches to a local family. When the four children at the door eagerly dug through the bags before their mom could even get them in the door, the cheered and high-fived each other when they discovered peanut butter and jelly. From their perspective that was a great thing.
I teach in a school where 96% of our students on the federal free lunch program. The great thing about this is that I know that during the school year, my students are receiving two meals a day…sometimes their only two meals. The down side is that during the summer, I know that many of my students often go without. This is true for many families…not just students at my school. It has troubled me for the last few years. And Brian and I have prayed about how our ministry, In Our Own Backyard, could work to help serve those in our community who could most benefit. It’s really not about building a ministry or receiving ANY credit at all. To us, our mission is about serving others by doing our best to love on them like Jesus would.
So after lots of praying and even more listening for God to speak, we came up with “Summer Relief.” It’s a very simple program where we simply seek to help food insecure families get through the summer months by providing breakfasts and lunches each week to each of their children. We contacted the local schools and got the names of some families who could most benefit. We then called each of the families on the list…excited to serve. We faced some obstacles and disappointment when several of the families did not return our calls. But we prayed constantly and knew that God would provide us with the children we were supposed to serve.
Three weeks into our program we are so excited to share what God is doing. His guidance in setting up this small program has shown us things we did not see on our own. Since we deliver each week to the children’s homes, we re beginning to form relationships with the parents of the children. Weekly we will have the opportunity to show them the love of God in just a couple of bags of food…and as those relationships grow, we know God will open doors for us to share more about him.
In Our Own Backyard Ministries is blessed to have people who have jumped on board with this effort and are helping by providing us with food to fill bags. It is so special to see people with hearts for God come together and do small things with great love. Small things to us…but then again, it’s all about perspective.