Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mission Possible...

This morning I dragged myself out of my cozy, warm bed at the crack of dawn... Oh- OK, it was only 6:30, but it felt like the crack of dawn... After rousing our children, we loaded (a reluctant) Young Son and (an excited!) Teenage Daughter into the car and drove 45 miles to San Francisco. Where we spent the morning volunteering at the San Francisco Rescue Mission in the Tenderloin along with a group of 18 other volunteers from our church. (Teenage Son stayed home to study for his Chemistry and Algebra 2 finals on Tuesday.)

I have to admit that I wasn't so excited about going. In fact, I would not have gone at all if this hadn't been an outreach event for the missions department of our church- the very same missions department where I happen to serve as missions director. But feeling obliged, we rallied the troops and went anyway.

We don't spend a lot of time in the city as evidenced by Young Son's comments as we drove through San Francisco on our way to the mission...

What's that?


There's writing on that building...

That's graffiti.

Whoa! Isn't that illegal?

Yes, he lives a sheltered life. But anyway, back to my story... We arrived at the mission and, along with 400 other volunteers, and checked in at the registration table to serve at their holiday outreach. We were quickly assigned to "Meal Prep" duty. After opening in prayer and singing a couple of carols, we had a brief orientation and then went to work. For the next two hours I scooped mashed potatoes into Styrofoam take-out boxes. We assembled over 1,400 meals that were delivered to families in the neighborhood. In addition there was a grocery give-away and a holiday party (complete with presents!) for the area children.

About a third of the way through the meal assembly, we ran out of the gospel message fliers that were being taped on top of the meal boxes (this was Young Son's job). I told Young Son that he could take a break and eat a Christmas cookie, but he declined saying- They're making more fliers and I need to finish taping them on! And this is a child who never turns down a cookie!

Two thirds of the way through our 1,400 meals, my sciatica started acting up and my back was hurting. But you know what? I didn't really care. In spite of my initial reluctance, I was having a great time visiting with those around me as we worked together to serve the community.

After we finished assembling the meals we spent a few minutes cleaning up. There were a couple of minutes when I couldn't find Young Son. When we located him, he was spraying tables and wiping them down with a sponge (cleaning up- the last place that I would think to look for him!). After finishing up, we decided to take the kids out to lunch in the city before driving back home. We headed down to Boudin at Fisherman's Wharf for their famous clam chowder in a bread bowl.We had a nice lunch and arrived back home around 2:00.

All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day. Even more important- we blessed people who can use a little extra blessing, especially during the holidays.

I have a feeling, we'll be volunteering at the rescue mission again. In fact, it could become a regular event.


hockeygirl said...

Good for you!

M. said...

Do you remember when we volunteered on Christmas day making food for whoever? That was one of my favorite Christmas days ever!

Missy said...

so cool. i can't wait till my kids are old enough to do this stuff.

I went to San Francisco years ago and ate clam chowder...a couple months later, I was sitting at work, and it was cold and I was tired, and I suddenly wanted to be back in SF eating clam chowder so bad that I literally started crying! :(

I have since discovered that SF clam chowder and New England clam chowder are two totally different things and the SF style is a million times better! So have a cup for me :-(