• by Kay Kuehn, Executive Director


It is official, our Monday meal service has moved inside for the year which is earlier than last year when the temperature stayed warmer longer. I am not convinced that the warm days are completely behind us either as I continued to wear shorts. Probably sometime in November I will give in to wearing jeans again but I will push it as long as I can, just sayin'...

Road construction season has brought about many changes to the area roads impacting access to Open Hands. Lately the changes feel like they occur at least weekly and it has been an adventure to say the least. Allianz Field, future home of Major League Soccer's Minnesota United, continues construction which impacts road configurations, taking out intersections and stop lights on a daily basis it seems. The banging, grinding, cement mixers and asphalt haulers are too numerous to count. Suffice to say I face the same challenges as you do to get here each day. Because I often am taking the bus and train, I can let someone else worry about the traffic while I sit back and enjoy the ride, just sayin'...

That reminds me of the phrase, "Nobody likes change". I ask you, do you like change? I would venture to say your answers are mixed. Those who are against it become anxious, they worry about what will happen and some just give up because they are so fearful or unhappy. For the past few months I have seen change first hand, and I am not referring to the roads. Bethlehem Lutheran Church, where we are housed, entered into an agreement to house a new congregation in their facility called House of Mercy. If you would like to know more about them I am making it easy for you. Simply click on the House of Mercy logo in this article.

I personally was curious about this new church so on Sunday, September 9 I attended their first worship service in this their new home. I will admit it was not like my own church but then nothing is like my own church, that is why I chose it over another. There were a lot of people from many different ages, socio-economic backgrounds and I enjoyed seeing such diversity. But I, like the people of Bethlehem Lutheran, began to have a little anxiety about this change and how it would impact Open Hands. I, like Bethlehem Lutheran, must not worry about the 'what if's' but give this time and welcome these new friends as if we were welcoming new classmates on their first day of school. I am not saying it will be easy to adjust but like all change we must allow time to see what happens. There will be growing pains, there will be adjustments because there is CHANGE. Personally I think that rather than become anxious and worry, maybe I should look at the positive, there might be NEW volunteers for Open Hands, just sayin'...

It is hard for me to believe that in less than a month it will be Thanksgiving. Each year Open Hands is blessed with a partner who provides a complete Thanksgiving meal for our guests. This group comes on a Saturday and cooks all day for several recipients of these meals. It is such a generous donation when you think of the cost involved. This year we will be serving our Thanksgiving meal on Monday, November 12. The only drawback for me is the whole place will smell like turkey and I have to be honest and tell you I cannot stand turkey or the smell of it. My Thanksgiving meal is pizza, yes, you read that right, pizza, just sayin'...

Speaking of Thanksgiving I want to offer a give thanks you to all of our volunteers who make Open Hands such a wonderful place. The many hours of their time freely given to help us provide meals for those in need, pick up and deliver food from Kowalski's, Target, and Panera on a weekly basis, staff the Food Shelf and many other ways is a true blessing. I also owe thanksgiving to our Board of Directors for the time they put into making sure we are doing what is in the best interest of our guests. Kudos to our cook, Steve, for his creativity in planning and preparing the awesome meals we serve. Recently I was meeting with the Director of another organization in the Midway area who has attended our Monday meals and she said, "I have never had such good food from a soup kitchen, not many people will serve the kind of meals you do, you guys really go the extra mile." It made me smile and think, yea, we do a pretty good job. WE together deserve the credit so my heartfelt thanks to all of you once more, just sayin'...

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