Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On the Other Side of the Table

   I had an opportunity to help pass out food to around two hundred families last weekend. With around 10,000 pounds of food shared, approximately 800 people were helped. It was a beautiful experience. The mobile food pantry works by a truck loaded with food coming. The food contained inside on palates is a combination of canned goods, fresh produce, and items which are considered extras by many grocery budgets - like large bags of walnuts and juices. There were large ripe tomatoes that were bagged up for easy delivery. A family even had picked a truckload full of sweet corn the night before and it was also bagged and added to the stock of food.

   People started lining up about two hours before the registration could even begin. Workers came approximately an hour early to help unload the truck and set up the tables. Registration began and people passed through. Soon, grocery carts were filled with food and people were loading their vehicles full of produce.
   One of the discussions I heard going on was being on the other side of the table. It is a joy being on the giving side. It is a beautiful thing to hand out milk, tomatoes, corn, cereal, soup, and a variety of other foods. It is not always so easy to be on the receiving side of the table. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t gratitude there, but there may also be wounded pride, embarrassment, and feelings of failure. It is not always easy to be on the receiving side of gifts. Especially gifts you cannot pay back.
   And yet, isn’t that what grace is?