Friday, October 22, 2010

Bob the Builder Award: Baptist "Lunch Ladies"

In honor of the National Day of Doing Good tomorrow, I wanted to give a shout out to my special Lunch Lady friends from the Free Will Victory Baptist Church (who don't even know I have a blog).  :)

21 years.
Every third Friday morning.

Did you get that?  WITHOUT EXCEPTION.

How many things can I say that about in my life? 

Oh wait, I did think of something.  Val will accept every piece of chocolate offered her (even that yucky milk chocolate kind) WITHOUT exception.  :)  Aim high, Val.

These folks at Free Will have been making and donating lunches to the homeless every third Friday of the month for 21 years.  The number of lunches is determined by how many cookies are currently being packed in the off-brand Little Debbie's boxes.  Current lunches served:  96.

Tom and I started helping out a year ago last September.  To be honest, there was some trepidation on the parts of the Baptists at first.  "Why are the Mormons here? What do they want?  You know they are going to Hell for being in a cult...  Oh, too bad for the Mormons." 

That first month or two, most of the buddies there weren't really interested in visiting with folks who are going to Hell.  :) 

But we are a year in, have brought some other fabulous folks with us (including Mr. Bob the Builder himself) and the atmosphere has changed. 

We have worked together. 

We have visited together. 

We know about their children moving, their parents dying, their health concerns and that they need a new fridge in their kitchen. 

Some came to our church ice cream social in September.

We helped serve and supply food at a funeral for one of their members a couple months ago. 

They know Tom is dying.  As a matter of fact, they pray for him every week in their Sunday School class.  One Wednesday night they even had a special alter prayer in his honor.  It was really touching.

They know what a Bishop does for our church now because they have hung out with a Bishop's wife.

We have donated to the cause.  They like that.  They are a small church and having some recent troubles making ends meet.

Want to see how it works?  I brought my camera to take some shots and the battery was dead.  I stood in the parking lot and prayed that the battery would work long enough to take these pictures. worked. :)  Sounds corny but just giving credit where credit is due.

Everything is bought at discount at the cheap food store
 Six bags per row...16 rows
We will them with:  sandwiches, an apple, a bag of chips,
a cookies, (sometimes candy) and a napkin
One person stands on one side to fill three bags per row
and then another person is on the other side
filling those three bags so that you don't have
to reach across the table

The peanut butter and jelly is mixed by mixer together in a big bowl
and spooned onto the sandwiches.  It keeps the ingredients together
better when the lunches are jostled around during the trip
to the homeless shelter.
The lunches are stored in the cooler at the shelter
until Sunday morning and given out then.  That way
no one (staff or volunteers) don't have work on Sunday
mornings so they can attend whatever worship service they want.
The sandwiches are stacked in two slices, so that the
breads will fit together right.
The ends are recycled for the birds, the plastic and paper
are recycled, so there is very little waste.

The sandwiches used to be cut diagonally
(which is sticky and messy, and takes a good
amount of time)
until a couple months ago--when the Mormons
held a secret coo.  :) 

That month, only Jeanie (learn more about her in a minute)
and the Mormons showed up to work.
Since we were short manpower, we convinced Jeanie
to bag the sandwiches without cutting them!

You know, folks going to hell don't have much
to lose and live a little crazy like that.

It is a big happy hit.  A process that start to finish
used to take well over an hour now is finished in about
45 minutes.  I heard one rumor that one Baptist
asked for five years to NOT cut the sandwiches,
but Jeanie the Queen Project Bee
wouldn't have it. 

Now she said we are not allowed to
tell him we do it.  :)

After the food is sorted into the bags,
they are all folded over twice
They are stapled shut with two staples and transported
by big garbage bags to the city.

This is Jeanie here on the right. 
She doesn't usually have a red face.
But she had been crying.

I would too if I was simple, humble person
who had run this project for 16 years.

For free.

Last month, we gave Jeanie
a Presidential Lifetime Service Citation
for all her good works.
Too many to list here.

We have become friends, us Mormons and those Baptists.  One of them said it so wonderfully in his Sunday school class a couple weeks ago:  We are not of the same religion, but we have the same faith.  :)  Who knew that a little peanut butter and jelly could do that?