Kay Kuehn, Exec. Director
A NEW Day Dawning
On a recent very warm weekend in July, many amazing artists from Creatives after Curfew and City Mischief spent time painting 7 murals on the Roy Street and Spruce Tree sides of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church building in which Open Hands Midway is housed. If you are in the area come and check them out. We have seen many people stop and look at them, take pictures and we have even talked to community members about what they think of the murals. Open Hands Midway thinks they are awesome, amazing and beautiful. They brighten up the building and for Bethlehem Lutheran it may even be an invitation for families and individuals seeking a church home as they realize Bethlehem is welcoming to ALL people. Here is a quick snapshot of the artists in action.
This year has been a year of change upon change amid so much beauty for Open Hands Midway. When January 1, 2020 dawned I can say without hesitation that I was not sure where the year would take us. Fast forward to today and you all know what our world and lives are like without me stating the obvious. What you do not know is a new day is dawning for Open Hands Midway. I want to share with you about this new day and the new ways that we will move this organization forward to better serve this beloved community we call home. On August 13 the Open Hands Midway Board of Directors met for what we knew would be a
challenging, inspiring and hopefully positive meeting. We were blessed with a gorgeous day to hold our meeting outside which allowed us to shed the now dreaded ZOOM meeting platform. One of our main topics of conversation centered on shifting the focus of Open Hands Midway from a program that offers meals along with clothes and household goods to becoming a meal and food program only. When Bethlehem Lutheran, where we are housed, held the massive community relief efforts in June, it became clear to Open Hands Midway that we needed to make some significant program changes to address the pressing needs we were witnessing. After various meetings of hearing how food insecurity would skyrocket as the fall of 2020 arrived, what you are about to read is the new direction I am honored to lead this organization into.
On Sunday, September 13 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Open Hands Midway will hold one FINAL distribution of all clothing and household goods we now have in storage. Please note, we are not taking any donations for this event, we are simply giving away the inventory we have. From that date forward we will cease taking clothing and household donations. If we get rained out on September 13 we plan to shift to September 19 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.. Once this distribution is complete, the Open Hands Midway board will assess the space where we once stored clothes and household goods to discern our plan for creating a permanent full scale food shelf for use by anyone who needs food in our community. Where we now have two small shelves for food, we will soon have a whole room! After the civil unrest in late May and early June, it became clear that 436 Roy Street is in the middle of a food desert. Walmart closed some time back as did Rainbow Foods. CVS is now closed. Lloyd’s Pharmacy is in rebuild mode. One must travel a considerable distance to get to Target, Aldi or Cub Foods. For those who come to Open Hands this is not acceptable! Therefore we vow to do our part to bring people much needed food into this community by becoming a meal and food program only. While we have not finalized any official plan for what the new food shelf will look like, we do know we intend to have it open on a weekly basis. We will be seeking to put in cold storage (refrigerator and freezer) to allow our guests the chance to receive dairy and meat items which we have not ever been able to do. Friends, this is exciting! The possibilities make me want it open up tomorrow but patience must be practiced to get it right. As all of this unfolds please know I will do my best to keep you informed through this blog, our newsletter, on our website and on our Facebook page. I welcome any suggestions, comments or questions which you may have either by phone call at 651-646-6549 x4 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the time comes we will be seeking volunteer help to staff the food shelf.
We will be making many decisions on a few household items we may want to keep a small inventory of such as sleeping bags, gloves, mittens and hats. When we have it all determined we will share that information with you.
Let's face it, the world around us is changing and we must change with it or perish. As a poster outside of my office states, “Never tire of doing what is right” from 2 Thessalonians 3:13. We are committed to doing what is right. We are committed to this community. Praise God for this new day dawning, just sayin'...