A Reason To Give Thanks

November 20, 2018 - Lori Jagow

“God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.” -Billy Graham 

It was early spring and with an already busy schedule, I promised a friend I would help teach a domestic skills class for a women's program in Niagara County. It would begin in the fall. But there were preparations to make for the Disciple 1 Bible study, the prison ministry, and a homeless ministry, just to name a few. I began to have second thoughts of overbooking myself. I agreed to help only until a replacement could be found.

Although I loved working with the women, I was consumed with so many other things that needed my attention. Occasionally checking in with my friend I asked, “Have you found a replacement yet?”

“No,” she replied, and I continued helping as promised.

One day when my part of the program was over, just as I was about to dash out the door, my friend stopped me and asked, “Sandy, do you want to stay for lunch?” Hesitantly, I agreed to stay.

It was over lunch that my friend mentioned to someone that I was involved in feeding the homeless on the street in Buffalo through my church, Pendleton Center UMC.

Here I was volunteering in a women's program to help them learn domestic skills, and a woman participating in the program looked at me and said, “I have benefited from many of those meals. It was across from the bus station, in downtown Buffalo.” She began describing in detail the different types of food we served there.

I could not believe it was the exact location and process of what we do. My eyes grew misty knowing it was likely that we had fed her on the streets. She continued to tell of her past as a homeless addict. Now clean and sober, she was back on her feet and helping others who also struggle with addiction. She was a veteran, pregnant with her second child, and was just beaming with optimism! Tears of gratitude streamed down my face as I listened to her tell her story. I was thankful for the opportunity to have made a difference in this young person's life. 

We have served countless meals on the streets and may never know the impact of those who have partaken. Choked up with emotion, I thanked her from the bottom of my heart for sharing her story, for serving our country, and wished her only the best in her new endeavor. Her eyes met mine, and in the most sincere way she said, “No, I thank you for serving meals to the people on the street.” From her heartfelt expression, I knew how much it meant to her. It had given her hope to survive. I believe that God gave me this little window of affirmation to see that we are making a difference.

As the holidays approach, I am looking forward to serving the homeless a holiday meal on the streets with our group at Pendleton Center UMC. There are many without food or family for the holidays. On December 10 at 3pm help at Pendleton Center UMC is needed with food donations and prep work. Watch the newsletter for upcoming details on homeless ministries. Contact Sandy Houck through the church office at 716-625-8306 for more information on how you can help in any way.

Story by Sandy Houck
Written by Lori Jagow