Loaves & Fishes RI—A Miracle on Wheels

“Demonstrating God’s love by providing opportunities for spiritual growth through service to others”.
Suppose you had to purchase the following in one trip to the grocery store?
Peanut butter and jelly for 120 sandwiches – wrapped in sandwich bags
Hot sandwiches– 120 wrapped in an insulated bag
Hard boiled eggs – 12 Dozen Assorted bags of chips – 150
Cookies/brownies/desserts – many, many, many
Fruits – 120 bananas/apples/oranges Drinks – 120 fruit drinks Water – 120 16 oz water bottles

Is this a big deal? No! – Because it isn’t just a few people working on the Loaves and Fishes RI truck but an entire team, contributing food, preparing sandwiches, Roberta Thompson coordinating all the clothing needed – then loading the truck for the “run”. It is the story of volunteers working behind the scenes. I guess you could say, “it takes a village”. Opportunities are many: donating food, prep time (cooking & making sandwiches), going out on the truck. Please think about joining this ministry. We do need volunteers. You may be tired at the end of the day but you will feel good!

I was on the run this past Saturday, July 19th to Woonsocket. Six people fit into the truck quite com-fortably. A new driver was being trained, Tom Coburn, and experienced driver Jim Miller was his trainer. I sat between the two with Shara Gharib, Ginny Viens and Sue Imhoff in the rear seat. First stop was the park off Social Street in downtown Woonsocket. When we pulled into the parking lot approximately 100 people with some children directed us to a parking space. For the next hour, food and clothing were handed out non-stop. What I noticed was a willingness to wait in line, no pushing or shoving but an anxiousness that we might run out of something they needed when it became their turn. We ran out of men’s underwear and all the socks were the first to go. Never did I realize how important a pair of socks is to a homeless person. As we prepared to leave, late comers arrived and we stopped to help them. We believe no one should be left out. There was one lady who didn’t talk or walk very well and a man who appeared to have Down’s syn-drome in the line for food. The other people in line helped both with their food bags and helped them sit on the curb to eat. It was moving to watch people helping others.

We proceeded to three other sites, ending up at a housing project with many children. I silently thanked Roberta Thompson and Cheryl and Richard King for the many t-shirts, shorts and children’s clothes they had donated. When this very pretty 3 year old arrived in her flip flops (much too big for her), I blessed the bag of shoes I pulled from the top shelf of the truck, put the shoes on this little tyke and they fit – whoopee! A couple of older boys quickly picked out game books and a younger brother shyly smiled when the Patriots shirt was his size..

Do yourself a favor! Volunteer for Loaves & Fishes RI, prep or go out on the truck.  If anything, you return to St. John’s feeling very blessed and may even wonder what we can do to improve the plight of the homeless. For now, volunteering your time and talents would indeed be a major contribution both to those who need you and to you also!

E-mail Nancy Rockefeller at josierock57@gmail.com for more information.

(This amazing nation-wide ministry started in 1998 in Austin, Texas. St. John’s was part of the beginnings of this ministry in Providence and here on the East Bay. Together with four other area churches, members of St. John’s help prepare food, organize clothing, and accompany the loaded lunch truck to areas where homeless folks congregate as well as low-income housing projects in Rhode Island. One of the joys of going out on a Loaves and Fishes RI trip, is the close personal interaction with those who are being helped. Recognition of our brothers and sisters in Christ is a powerful thing. Everyone is invited to take part.)