On Friday night my son and I served food at a local outreach ministry known as Nights of Hospitality. It began several years ago as a way to serve a hot meal once a week to the needy in our community. Today, the ministry partners with enough local churches that they are now able to serve a hot meal every night of the week.
What I love about Nights of Hospitality is that it’s a tangible way to help others in need. It’s the answer to the question, what can I do that could really make a difference? Each month you can either volunteer to donate food or drinks, prepare a portion of the meal, or show up and serve the food..which, by the way, takes all of one hour from set up to clean up.
This time around, along with donating cans of corn for the meal, I took my 8-year-old son with me so that we could help in the actual serving of the food. He was put to work unpacking water bottles and setting out cups of milk. When it came time to serve the meal, his job was to man the fruit table. As each person in line came up, he made sure they received either an apple, an orange or a banana.
Once each person had been through the line, I told my son that we could then walk around the room to see if anyone wanted seconds. My favorite memory was watching my son make his way around the room carrying one apple in the palm of his hand and asking each dinner guest if they wanted another one. After he was done distributing the leftover fruit, he grabbed the container of leftover cookies and did the same thing. I didn’t prompt him, he just did it.
One of the many blessings people often receive from giving is a strong desire to give again and again. It’s strangely addictive. I’ve come to understand, that giving produces an inner joy like nothing else can. Once you get a brief taste of helping others, you want to find ways to reach out again. And, if you keep your eyes open, there are opportunities everywhere you look.
Take a moment to look around. Who is one person you could serve today?
Go make a difference.