Last night as I was getting undressed before bed to put my PJ’s on, a bean fell out of my pocket. I shook my head, picked it up and was about to throw it out when I thought, “There’s a blog in here somewhere!” Why would I have a dry bean in my pocket you ask? Because we have a large community of people at The Dale who walk alongside us daily, each offering their own unique set of gifts (Well, that’s the short answer – let me explain).
A friend of The Dale dropped some dry cooking beans off to Erinn. Yesterday we brought them in and the girls began portioning out beans into little ziplock bags for members of our community who could use them to cook. I picked one up that had fallen on the floor and was in a rush to start our to-go lunch, placing the bean in my pocket rather than in the garbage. We now have a couple dozen bags of beans to hand out to community members thanks to one person’s generous gift.
The giving just continues… On our way up the stairs to start lunch, I walked around some shoes Joanna picked up last week from another friend. A bunch of basically new size 11 Adidas shoes to give to our community that one person thought to give us rather than throw away. Someone walked away with a pair already yesterday, thrilled at the prospect of new shoes.
For lunch, we give out a variety of things, often including some bread that a mystery man drops off nearly each week from his bakery. Items that didn’t sell and were destined for the garbage become our breakfast sandwich bread for 45 people and a side for the Monday meal. A generous offer of extra fresh bread and a saving of waste.
In the line for our lunch to go, we are offered smiles, art, stories, and waves. A loyal volunteer comes every Monday and Thursday to hand out food so we can be available to talk with people in line. We are trusted with joy and sadness, heartache and pain, relief and gladness. We are trusted with secrets and tears, a call for help, a thank you. We are given much from our friends. Many gifts of hope and friendship.
On Sundays we take offering at The Dale. We use a hat or a basket. We offer a prayer, and invite our community to offer their gifts. Some of those gifts come in the form of faithful tithes reaching from cheques to dimes. We’ve received notes, prayers, a hugging of the hat, an offering to do dishes, cigarettes, tokens, tears, and much more. For each gift we know that God is so glad.
The Dale would not be The Dale without the gifts of many. Our fundraiser last week raised over $11,000. It was shared over and over and over again. We were covered in prayer. And we have gifts now to give back in turn to our friends and neighbourhood who give much of themselves daily. We have new supporters and hearts attached to The Dale. We have people walking with us.
A little bean made me thankful for so much. Without everyone at The Dale offering their gifts and receiving those gifts, we would not be who we are. We learn a lot when we can not only extend a hand, but when we can take one in return. A small bean goes through a labour of love – a thought to give, being dropped off, put in a bag, given away, cooked into a meal, and shared with a friend. This is community. And we are so grateful.
May you find peace and love in small things.