Every year I look forward to watching the Charles Schultz classic Charlie Brown Christmas special. The meaning of the short show conveys the message of what Christmas is really all about. My favorite character, Linus, recites the true meaning of Christmas in the show (click on the picture to the left to hear it). This is a message I feel has gotten lost in recent days when it seems so much is out of control. When we take time to slow down and listen to the words Linus shares we trun realize why Christmas is more than gifts under the treel. Maybe we just need to keep that in mind as we enter this Christmas season. Maybe we just need to keep in mind that God loved the world so much that He sent his son to be the Savior of the world. Maybe we need to hear that more than only at Christmas time, just sayin'... One of my faithful volunteers, Dave, has hats of various colors with a simple message on the front, 3:16. That would be John 3:16, "For God so love the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." He has given many of these hats to any Open Hands Midway volunteer who wants one. Just another way to share the good news every single day of the year which I personally think the world needs more of right now. That leads me to a song, what a surprise since I have often said how much music means to me. That song, 'What the World needs now' was written 56 years ago and is so relevant and meaningful as we daily deal with news of racism, hatred, gun violence and so much that wants to steal our joy. To listen to the song click here
The song may stick in your head for the rest of the day (yeah, your welcome) but that is a good thing because I think it is just what you and I need to hear over and over, just sayin'... Open Hands Midway has experienced a year in which we have shared love with our community every week. One of our core values states, "Love changes people." I have seen this first hand through volunteers who faithfully serve at our meal, food shelf and food rescue programs. I have heard the guests we serve express thanks for that love when they receive a meal or fresh produce at our meal program or groceries from our food shelf. Love is expressed in small ways and in big ways. Love can be as simple as a smile or as large as a full cart of groceries for a family. Yes love does change people and Open Hands Midway has been the recipient of love in many forms throughout this past year. We are grateful for:
Grants designated to assist us in purchasing 4 new commercial freezers and 1 new commercial refrigerator
A grant to purchase a food warmer - technically called a Cambro Ultra Pan Carrier. I cannot tell you how many times our Chef, Steve, has told me how AWESOME this thing is!
Individuals and corporations who gave items to be auctioned off at our golf event silent auction.
Donors who supported our Give to the Max day campaign
Faithful volunteers who come and serve each week (even in the midst of a pandemic)
Our chef who continues to amaze us with his culinary skills, his creativity in using resources wisely, his generosity and his kindness to volunteers and guests alike
M Health Fairview who hosted a FREE flu shot and Covid vaccine clinic in October
Being the recipients of a grant from Hunger Solutions Minnesota to be used to help stock our food shelf
Minnesota United Soccer team holding a 'winter wear' drive for us AND a 'register round up' at their team store in the month of December benefitting Open Hands Midway. Click here to read the article they published about these events.
Our individual, corporate and church partners who have supported our mission throughout the year with generous financial gifts
...and so much more.
As 2021 comes to a close I am so thankful for the trust placed in me to be the Executive Director of such a wonderful organization doing such amazing things in the Midway area of St. Paul. From myself, my Board of Directors, and Chef Steve, let me wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year. I hope that the true meaning of Christmas will fill your heart and life today and every day as you seek to make the world just a little better in the coming year, just sayin'...