“It is such a privilege to connect with individuals who have reached out with a request for food delivery through our Fruit of the Vine Food Shelf. During this pandemic year, I have brought groceries to and prayed with so many different people: an elderly single woman isolated and homebound due to COVID, who had just lost her sister; a young man who had wandered the country, homeless and with various chemical addictions, who met Jesus and was so hungry now to read and learn of him, full of hope and joy; folks with physical disabilities and mental illness, folks in comfortable neighborhoods barely scraping by, and folks in the sparest of living conditions and challenging neighborhoods who were overflowing with gratitude.
I met one woman overcome with fresh grief who, just moments before I came around the corner, had learned from the police that her husband’s dead body had been found a few blocks away. Another woman, who was not at home when I delivered her food because she had an OB appointment, texted me later to say her baby was on its way that day. One tough fellow helped me carry his groceries up to the 4th-floor apartment where he lived and I was greeted by his sweet toddler son, who he cares for alone. I have met some folks just once, others multiple times. One family I met repeatedly were all sickly and so fearful of COVID, but through the window, we both could speak of the goodness and faithfulness of God. One woman I prayed with has been receptive to ongoing contact for support, prayer, Scripture reading, errands, and rides to the store. I have met folks downtown, in Lincoln Park, eastern Duluth, West Duluth, Gnesen Township, Rice Lake, Proctor, Cloquet, and Superior of all races, skin and hair colors, ages, and genders. Most people are surprised and extremely thankful for the rather incredible amount of groceries they receive, and many appreciate the offer of prayer with or for them.
I personally have been deeply impacted at the “wideness of God’s mercy”, the way God answers prayer, supplies needs so perfectly, loves every one of us in the face of all of our inadequacies, and demonstrates and invites kindness, forgiveness, and dignity as the outflow of his love through his Body, the Church. I continue to be amazed at the strength and tenacity of the human spirit, and the way people press on in the most discouraging situations. The people asking for deliveries often live on the highest floor of buildings without elevators or the edges of mobile home parks or crime-infested apartment buildings. They have grown old in homes they cannot afford to care for or to leave. Many take in someone else who needs a place to stay or they share food with other families who are in need. They help one another and refuse to waste food they can’t use themselves. Throughout Scripture, the Lord seeks out, lifts up the down-trodden, the discouraged, the poor, the demonized, the sick, the hopeless, and the lonely. He offered hope, healing, abundant life, joy. How he loves us all. What a gift to be able to connect with folks so close to his heart!”