By Dave Warner
Pantry patrons are special folks, to be sure.
“I’m always happy,” a patron told me, smiling warmly as we packed her weekly groceries into her car.
And yet I know she has plenty of reasons to feel otherwise. She’s dealing with some real physical impairments that restrict her in many ways. Plus, she is struggling with a housing issue nowadays, too.
And yet, and yet – she professes to be always happy, at a time when many of us would be saddened by such a plight.
It is patrons like her, with their strength in the face of adversity, that make it a privilege for volunteers like me to work each week at the Loaves & Fishes pantry. Many of the patrons exude a sense of joy and resilience and are grateful to receive food for their families. I am thankful that they and their children will not go to bed hungry.
My weekly job is to walk patrons and their shopping carts to their cars and help them unload their groceries. I was with another patron recently who sighed as we approached her car in the church’s parking lot.
A series of troublesome issues had befallen her.
She’d had a leaking pipe in her house’s plumbing system and a series of broken appliances, all of which would cost money to repair.
After she gave voice to those woes, she, too, came up with a smile as I lifted her groceries into her car.
How does she cope with all that?
Her eyes looked upward.
She didn’t say much, but it was clear that her faith is what is carrying her through.
Dave Warner is one of dozens of volunteers who help out at the food cupboard. His dispatches are based on his experiences at the pantry each week.