Jul 31, 2010

Giveaway Saturday

Last year, our congregation held our first school supply drive.  To be perfectly honest, it was a spur of the moment decision to undertake this effort, and we wound up surpassing our own goal by 50%, giving away supplies to 150 Rutherford county children in just under an hour.

This year's drive had lots more volunteers (including the same core team from last year), and we set our sights on helping 150 children.  The donated supplies kept coming in, and last night we prepared for 225 children, once again exceeding our goal by 50%.

Then the question was, would the families come?  I awoke this morning to thunder rolling - great for the lawn and my water bill; not so great for public events like the giveaway.  By 9:30, several families were queuing up outside our doors, and we opened 15 minutes early.  After the first wave of families, things slowed down, and I admit I was more than a little worried:  what if we didn't have a good turnout?  What would happen next year - would people be willing to give supplies and commit their time if we fell flat this year?  (I am a world-class champion worrier:  why limit yourself to worrying about tomorrow when you can worry about something that won't happen for another 365 days???)

As usual, my worries were unfounded.  And shame on me for doubting.

A few volunteers made signs and stood near the highway; it worked.  In just a few minutes, more families began to trickle in. As we closed in on the 2-hour mark, the trickle became a steady stream, and the last few minutes were a flurry of activity.  As we closed our doors to take down tables and haul out the trash, we were left with 4 remaining supply bags.  No sooner had we put them in storage when a volunteer came back in and asked if we had any supplies left - a family had just come in, hoping they weren't too late.  We handed over those remaining bags, grinning from ear to ear.  I guess the only question remaining is, how many do we think we can help next year?  And how many more than that will our generous members make it possible to help?

It's humbling to see so many of our members come out to help, and to see parents with tears in their eyes tell us how they were thinking their children would go back to school empty-handed next week, and how much this helped their family.  It is truly more blessed to give than receive.

Several waves of showers rolled through the area; our crepe myrtle became a weeping variety.  Maybe I just haven't paid good attention in the past, but I've never seen it do this.  Ah well, I'm sure the flowers will "shake it off" and right themselves soon enough. 

P.S.   A note to you-know-who:  Thinking of you, and hoping Alaska is gorgeous this week!
Temp in Seattle:  68.  Inside Passage forecast: rainy & cool.