I felt like I was doing a lot of waving. With both hands. At least in between picking up the bags of craft projects to hand to each of the kids holding bags of lunches. It wasn’t until later when my teammate mentioned how wearing masks made it difficult to show a smile that I realized why I was compelled to wave. A smile is the universal sign of welcome. It is my first step in communication, with those who speak English and with those who don’t. The kids speak English. The mammas and aunties and grannies don’t.
When the 50 craft bags put together by a couple of sweet girl scouts were gone (thank you Lucy and Hollis!), I moved to help with the other line. It was already a block long of waiting when I showed up. A heartbreaking row of shadows. A local church (The Donelson Fellowship) had put together boxes of cleaning supplies and other basic needs — trashbags, razors, toothbrushes, toilet paper. I ended up helping a girl with a broken wrist carry hers to her apartment and they were heavier than they looked. Several women put them on their heads like pictures I’ve seen from magazines and missionary presentations.
We, along with several others, added to each box one each of an ever shrinking pile of food. One rice, one beans, one tuna or chicken, one pasta, one peanut butter, oh… and what size of diapers does your family need? It quickly turned into we’re out of that size of diapers, or there’s no more tomato sauce left. Until the very end and the line had dwindled. All we have left are newborn diapers, do you need those? Either we had almost enough or people left because they could see the empty picnic table that had once been stacks of pantry staples.
It all took about 45 minutes.
But I hope those few items make a longer impact. A few more full bellies, or at least a few less empty ones? I know the craft bags have already inspired one mama to teach 3 elementary age girls to knit. I know it had an impact on me. I’m adding beans and rice and pasta to my weekly shopping list. Food and diapers are distributed almost every week. And I have more than enough.
How about you?
If you’d like to give, you can bring food by our donation bin from our approved list below. Or you can order food online and have it shipped to our office!
Servant Group International
506 Tanksley Avenue
Nashville, TN 37211
For other ways to serve check out our Nashville Page!