FBF was started in November. Within a couple of months, Cindy (who comes up with most of our families) had found a family she wanted us to "adopt" with one small problem - the man of the household did not want to ask for or accept any help. We were thrilled this month when he finally did agree to receiving a donation from us.
The household consists of a grandfather and his wife who have taken in eleven of their grandchildren to care for them. I'm not sure when it happened but the wife had a stroke some years ago and is dependent on a wheelchair, walker, and others to help her with her walking.
I told Cindy from day one that I wanted to empty out our FBF donation room at church as much as possible for this family. I wanted to pack up all of our "items" (household supplies) along with the usual food and toiletries we give. We wanted to make sure this family was taken care of for many months, and then could still use most of the stuff we were giving them. We were making the delivery on Saturday, so on Friday Cindy and I met up at the church to load our two trucks:
The picture of my truck (the second one) doesn't do it justice. I should have lifted up the top so you could see how much was really in there. But that's okay.
The average donation we give per month is around $300, sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less depending on the size of the family and how much we have in storage at the time. I am so thrilled to say that we were able to donated over eight hundred dollars worth of food and toiletries to this family!! I also tried to keep up with the other items we gave them that I could not price out:
- "Jesus" video on VHS
- 5-lb bag of potatoes
- 3 dozen eggs (from a family at church with chickens!)
- A toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss per person in the household
- car cleaning supplies
- several skillets
- three plastic tubs of kitchen supplies (pots, pans, glasses, and other necessities)
- two sets of dishes for the kitchen
- two crockpots
- a candy bar per person as a special treat
- kitchen appliances such as mixers, waffle makers, iced tea makers, etc.
- a new Bible
I know people at church were excited when I made this announcement on Sunday - about the amount we were able to give to this family. But our preacher really "got" what I really was hoping people would see from this entire ministry. He said he couldn't believe we had to give a family a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss per person. That he couldn't believe there are still people right now that don't have the basic necessities and we walk around with so much. When he brought up the fact that someone had donated a candy bar for each person in the house, he just stopped. Shook his head. And looked up and said, "A candy bar? My kids will throw away half a candy bar." We're so wasteful. In some ways we're so selfish. Not even thinking about it. I'm guilty of it as much as anyone. For pete's sake, I still have ten bottles of Worcestershire sauce in the pantry from when it was free several months back. Now, sure, I donated about six bottles to FBF, but what am I gonna do with ten bottles between the two of us?
Doing this ministry has made me keep check on myself more at least. I don't need twelve sticks of deodorant. I should keep a few on hand so we don't run out, sure, but I promise you before we run out again I'll be able to get ten more sticks on sale and I'll feel silly for keeping a dozen deodorants in our bathroom.
I wish everyone could go on the deliveries. They're willing, but they can't usually because of confidentiality issues. I don't think people can even fathom the living situation of some people. This family lives three or four miles from Cindy. The change that can take place in less than 5 minutes is astounding and frustrating to me.
On the other hand, doing this ministry has shown me that - guess what? One person can make a difference. Every donation is made by one person. But when you put each donation together it is huge! I just feel so blessed to be a part of this whole thing. I hope that it continues for a long, long time. Helping one family at a time is better than not doing anything at all.