Updated: Jan 30
Recently I had a great surprise from my home church of Redeemer Lutheran in White Bear Lake. A fishing trip called, "Fishers of Men" involving two groups of men from our congregation embarked on fishing trips to Red Lake and Lake of the Woods in January. Members or our congregation were given the opportunity to take part by sponsoring them in a fundraiser and select two places that money raised would go to. Open Hands was one of them! I am grateful to have accepted a check from Redeemer recently that will significantly help support the mission and work we do here. Another nice surprise came from members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church. Leading up to Superbowl Sunday, February 5, they placed a large soup pot in their sanctuary for members to donate cans of soup for the Open Hands Emergency Food shelf. Over the time they were collecting, we received just under 100 pounds of soup, canned pasta meals and beef stew. If you were one of the generous donors, THANK YOU for helping to replenish our food supply.
Lately I have been thinking about the Open Hands values and beliefs which have been a part of this organization from the beginning. I think it is important to keep these in mind as we serve the many guests of Open Hands. Here are the Open Hands Values and Beliefs for you to be aware of:
Everyone is welcome
Love changes people
Everyone has gifts to share
All things are possible
It is also important that we remember donations received were given to us FREELY and as such are to be given away FREELY. I often tell people that donating to Open Hands is a good thing, we are not going to try to make money off of what is given to us. BUT, and this is important, when you do make donations to Open Hands please remember:
Clothing should be clean and in good condition without holes, stains or tears
Clothing should not contain any suggestive slogans or graphics
Check to make sure no valuables are left within items as we have no way of tracking these when sorting
Any small appliance you donate (microwave, toaster oven, etc.) need to be CLEANED out before donating them. There is nothing worse than getting someone's filthy dirty items.
We DO NOT accept LARGE furniture, tv's, car seats, cribs or hide-a-beds.
We DO NOT offer pick up or delivery service.
We ask that you make sure someone is available to accept your donations. Please remember NOT to leave any donations outside of our doors as we cannot accept them in this way.
By now I am sure you are aware the we hired a new cook in October of 2016. I want to tell you how thankful I am for Steve Lee who has brought so much to our meal program. One thing that Steve recently said he likes about meal preparation is our use of food items we receive from our Food Rescue partners. He said in other cook positions he has had they would plan the menu's and purchase the food. At Open Hands he said he likes that we plan our menu's AFTER we receive food because it is a different type of challenge. We say it's all about flexibility and using the resources that come through our door, sometimes unexpectedly. On a recent Monday the menu was going to be ham and potatoes. That all changed when we picked up about 4 boxes full of peppers from Kowalski's in one donation. The following Monday we instituted our 'being flexible' mode of operation quickly deciding to use the bounty we had received and Steve was more than willing to make stuffed peppers. When we served the stuffed peppers I overhead one of the guests say, "Wow, this is kinda fancy, they've never given us something like this before" and another said, "This is delicious, makes me want more." Steve, just know you are very much appreciated not only by myself but those who come to eat your delicious meals, just sayin'... Well the Superbowl has just concluded and YES, I was cheering for New England, an unpopular choice as many are sick of them winning so much. But I am a person who is grateful for the thrill of seeing some of the greatest athletes in sports play. Watching Tom Brady lead the Patriots in overcoming a 25 point deficit was absolutely amazing and historic, and one of the other main contributors, James White, is a former Wisconsin Badger football player, just sayin'... Yes, for me February has been, and continues to be, an exciting month as I am a diehard Nascar race fan and the countdown is on to February 26 for the DAYTONA 500. For those of you who could care less, you don't know what you are missing, just sayin'...