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  • Writer's pictureKay Kuehn, Exec. Director

Everyone is Welcome by Name

Everyone is welcome is one of our core values. Each week on Monday and Wednesday, I have the pleasure of being the first to welcome our guests into the facility for meals. The staff and volunteers all wear name tags with only our first name on them so guests know us by name. What we like to do is know THEIR name. If a new person comes, we ask their name and do our best to remember it so next time they come we can greet them by name which has a feel of welcome to it. We are always glad they come; we tell them as much. We often ask about their day and we learn a bit about them. They have become our community, and we have become theirs. I think of the theme song from the sitcom Cheers which says:

“Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got;

Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name,

And they're always glad you came; you want to be where you can see,

our troubles are all the same; you want to be where everybody knows your name."

That could be the theme song of Open Hands Midway if we had one, just sayin'...

We know that life is not always easy. What IS easy is a willingness to step into a role where a difference can be made. A difference in the form of a meal, a bag of groceries or just an attitude that we can do something other than say ‘someone should do something’. Since 2009 Open Hands Midway has been making a difference in the lives of many people. I have had the pleasure of being a part of that difference for 8 years. I say part because though I am the Director, I do not do this alone. Myself and our cook, Steve, are the only paid employees of Open Hands Midway. Steve is an incredible person who loves to cook. He enjoys making meals that look good, taste good and he takes the time to be creative with what he can do based on the resources we have available. We are very blessed to have him and appreciate his skills and abilities. We also depend greatly on volunteers. They are the ones who give selflessly of their time to care about others week after week. They do so because they get to, not because they have to, just sayin'...

Every year I look forward to watching the Charles Schultz classic A Charlie Brown Christmas. The meaning of the 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 below to hear it). This is a message I feel has gotten lost as we rush and rush until life is no fun and we begin to spiral out of control over things that are so trivial. When we take time to slow down and listen to the words Linus shares we truly can realize why Christmas is more than gifts under the tree. 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 often, not only at Christmas time, just sayin'...

As 2022 comes to a close I am so grateful for the trust placed in me to be the Executive Director of Open Hands Midway. This small organization is doing amazing things in the Hamline-Midway/Union Park 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 soul today and every day as you strive to make the world just a little better place in the coming year, just sayin'...

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