by Bil Aulenbach

A Pandemic Activity

My wife, Annie, and I have been involved with a charity called Family Promise for years. Since the current pandemic caused so many closures, I was concerned that this program, which depends heavily on churches opening their facilities and feeding homeless families, might have trouble finding enough shelter and food to go around.

I called Family Promise’s executive director, Cyndee, and found out that many churches had indeed closed their doors. She shared that the charity’s current families had shelter, but the program wasn’t accepting new clients. The biggest issue was finding food for these families, who had no means to purchase their own meals. I went into fix-it mode.

I decided to call Annie’s and my youngest daughter, who lived nearby with her husband and two teen daughters (ages fourteen and seventeen). The family was self-isolating, so our granddaughters were a bit bored.

I said, “Hey, Ali, it’s Dad. I’ve been thinking—we have three families at Family Promise that are just moving into homes, but they have no food after Sunday. Could you do some shopping on Sunday morning at Aldi to provide food for three families for three days? I know it’s difficult to plan what to buy, but go and pick from what they have. Then could the girls make meals for Sunday evening so we can have the food ready for the families to cook?”

Ali liked this idea. I assured her that Annie and I would pay if she got the food from the store and the girls prepped the meals. Family Promise would pick up the food and deliver it on Monday.

Sure enough, Ali arrived at Aldi before 9:00 a.m. and, in a little over an hour, picked out enough food to feed three needy families for at least three days. Ali and her girls then came to Annie’s and my house, and we divided up the food for each family.

One family—a mom, a dad, and four children ranging from seven to fourteen years old—received their food on Sunday. The other two families—each with a mom, a dad, and very young children—had their food delivered on Monday.

I think this is what the church in the twenty-first century should be about—taking care of the “least of these” (Matthew 25:40), not a bunch of mumbo-jumbo theology.

I would like to see this story become contagious. It could spread like this: If you like this tale, share it with some friends and see if they want to provide a similar charitable service. Then their friends might hear about this and decide to join the effort.

Who would be the recipients of this generosity? You can start by calling Cyndee Albertson at the Anaheim, California, Family Promise office via the contact information below. If you don’t live in this area, google Family Promise to find the nearest facility. Call your local office and share this story. Family Promise and many other agencies would greatly appreciate your call and interest.

We’d love to see this activity go viral and provide a positive story in the midst of so many negative ones. We’ll call it the Agape Pandemic. Are you in?

 

Family Promise of Orange County contact info:

Cyndee Albertson, executive director

Email: Albertson@FamilyPromiseOC.org

Direct Line: (714) 353-0428

Main Line: (714) 787-3487

 

Image courtesy of Lars Plougmann (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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