Just Sayin'...

October 21, 2015

Thing have slowed down around here, uh, well...who am I trying to fool, maybe myself. It is true that our many programs have slowed to only our weekly Monday meal and once a week food shelf but all other weekly events have ended for the summer. For me it is anything BUT slow, ask my friends, family or the Open Hands Board of Directors who will tell you the behind the scenes work never ends.
People often ask me to describe a typical day. I begin with laughter as I say there is no typical day because things can change with the ringing of the doorbell, a phone call, an email or one of the church members who may come in that I know and we always have something to talk about. That said, my days usually begin at my desk (not that I am ever at the desk for long) around 7 am in the warmer months. Because I am such a outdoor fan (who would not be living in Minnesota) I will tell you a little secret about why my day begins so early. With winter closing in, and the thought of losing daylight hours, I like to be on my way home by 3:30 or 4 pm at the latest, plus the rush hour traffic is not as bad at that time. This allows me the chance to get outside for my daily walk or bike ride. I typically walk anywhere from 2-4 miles at a time thus needing to buy new shoes more often because I wear mine out so fast (more on that later). A couple of summers ago after I had been on two walks and one bike ride one in the same day of my neighbors said to me, "Don't you think you have had enough exercise for one day" to which I replied, "It is not so much about exercise as it is being outside." Yes, I long for being outdoors, if it was possible to have an outdoor office I would be the first to get one. Maybe I should invent that, just sayin'... 

As I write this, Open Hands is getting excited to host our annual celebration dinner. This year we are hosting the event at Bethlehem Lutheran. This promises to be an evening unlike events we have hosted in the past. I encourage you to attend if you are free that night. The is a FREE event but you must email or call in your RSVP to state you are coming. We would like to know by Wednesday October 28 in order plan accordingly. Our mailing list does not include each and every person who has some connection to Open Hands. Because of this I am extending to you this invite, asking you to pass it along to others and letting you know you should bring someone with you or tell someone else who may not even read this that you are attending and would like them to come. We hope to fill the auditorium that night and celebrate the good work being done by so many wonderful people right here in the Midway.

In the last month we have had the unfortunate issue of our main freezer ceasing to work. A repairman came and looked it over, found the problem and the fact it was 10 years old. He gave us his input on the whole should we or should we not repair it. Together Pastor Joy and I decided it was not worth it to put money into something this old when we would not be sure it would last a day, a week, a month or a year before it would go out again and need to be replaced. I tell you this because the main project of our Give to the Max day campaign this year is a new commercial grade freezer.

 

We hope to be able to acquire this new freezer before the end of 2015 (we are praying that is the case). The blessing is we still have a freezer so it is not as if we have nothing. However, we are now limited on space which means we may have to forgo purchasing a freezer item from Second Harvest or a frozen food item from another partner simply because we have no place to store it. As you consider how you might wish to make a donation to Open Hands on Give to the Max day, please know your funds will be used for a very worthy purchase that will help us greatly.

Recently, October 10 be to exact, I was invited to speak at the ELCA "Stepping Up to End Hunger" event. I was invited as a past recipient of the Domestic Hunger Grant. In addition I was asked to share a little about who Open Hands is, what we do and who we serve. Here is an excerpt of what I shared that day:

"It was a great honor to receive this invite to speak on behalf of our organization and to tell you what it has meant to Open Hands Midway to be a past recipient of the ELCA Hunger grant. As a past recipient of this grant, Open Hands was able, and continues to be able, to provide nutritious meals, an emergency food shelf and produce distribution to those in our community. Everything we distribute is free of charge to our guests for any of our services they partake in. The population we serve is generally low income or homeless. I believe it goes without saying that for people in the circumstances I just presented, having a free meal allows them to use their minimal financial resources for other necessary expenses such as rent, gas or childcare to name just a few....This past summer we were invited to submit our application for the 2015-16 ELCA Domestic Hunger grant. If we are chosen as a recipient of this grant one of the many options we are exploring for use of the funding would be to add an additional FREE weekday afternoon meal beginning in the summer of 2016. By adding a second weekday afternoon meal we will allow our guests, as I stated earlier, to use their minimal financial resources for other necessary needs such as gas, rent or childcare.
We are blessed to receive food from many sources which allows us to spread our dollars further. In a partnership with Second Harvest Heartland we are able to purchase food ranging in price from zero dollars to pennies on the pound. This is a great cost saving when you are serving the number of guests we are and planning nutritious meals. We are also engaged in Second Harvest's Food Rescue program which allows us to partner with two local grocery stores who give us food we are then able to turn around and use in our meals or to distribute to our guests.

My overall message is to say that being a recipient of a Hunger Grant is a blessing in that it has allowed Open Hands to provide more services and more food availability to our guests. So thank you again for the past ELCA Hunger Grant and we pray that God will allow us to be a recipient of the 2015-16 grant in order to further what God has called us to do where He has placed us."

The event was a success in more ways than just me giving this presentation. I met a delightful man who recently move to Minnesota from another state. He asked about how he could get involved with our program as a volunteer. We exchanged information and I invited him to come and spend a Monday with us to see what he thought. This past Monday, October 19, David came for the day. When all was said and done I asked him how his experience was. His reply was, "I really enjoyed this and I intend to come each week. If I can't come I will email or call you but you can plan on me each week." It made my day to know that David had this experience, he will tell others he knows and a whole new batch of volunteers may be heading our way, just sayin'....     


Now a few moments of 'go ahead and laugh at my expense' stories. Last month I told you I was moving into the world of Smartphones. Yes, it officially occurred on Friday August 28. However, it was not as easy as it should have been due to the 'dumb' user (yes, me) of the Smartphone. My first day with my new phone I had to have made my sister roll on the floor in laughter. As I sat at my desk the phone rang. I looked down at it and had no clue whatsoever about how to answer it, even though my sister had oriented me on this very task just the night before. Therefore I had to let the call go to voicemail. I then got on my office phone, called my sister and said, "Don't laugh, I know you showed me this but tell me again how on earth do I answer a call?" She did laugh and kindly explained, "I will call you on the new phone. You will see a green circle with arrows next to it? Swipe your finger across it in the direction of the arrows and that is how you will answer the phone." Cool I thought, I can do this. Oh but the fun was NOT over. Soon someone sent me a text message. Yes, I got the message but I had no idea how to reply. Again I called my sister with the question, "Ok, someone has texted me, how do I reply?" She once more walked me through it while we were on speaker phone and I have since become skilled at it to the point I can add emoticons too! I do not even have to type each individual letter, I do that 'swing from one letter to the next' thing which I am certain you Smartphone pros do with ease. Now if you think the learning was over guess again. My next challenge was voicemail. My old phone kept beeping at me to check the message, maybe this one has that ability and I just have not set it up yet. Again I called my sister asking, "How do I get my messages?" I am sure by now she was getting a bit tired of me but she never said as much. She pointed out the small icon that looks like a cassette tape, told me to swipe that and YAHTZEE I would get to my messages. Oh the fun this dumb Smartphone user is having, just sayin'...
The transition into the Smartphone world has been  SLLLLOOOOWWW for me but you also have to remember that I had one of those very first cell phones that were hardwired into my truck! I remember thinking how cool it was to have a phone in my truck. I even remember the day it died and I had to move in the direction of the flip phone, I was very reluctant. Ah, technology, where would we be without it! I do have to say one of the coolest things I have enjoyed about my phone is the camera. To be able to capture a quick picture of my Mom while visiting her OR, get this, record her singing (yes, I know, pretty impressive for this Smartphone rookie) has been great. I do have to say that there are some things that annoy me too. For instance the size of the phone compared to my old one. The old one fit so nicely in my pocket, this one is much more bulky but at least it is not like those cell phones of the 80's that were as big as suitcases, just sayin'.....

Now I mentioned at the onset of this blog that I would say more on new shoes later, well it is later. The story goes that when I was a kid my Mom got me some brand new shoes. I was playing in our backyard where we had a cement patio. For some reason I was crawling around out there and actually wore my brand new shoes out in one day! I imagine my Mom was not too happy. I guess I have not changed too much because I still wear my shoes out, maybe not in one day, but with all the walking I do for my personal relaxation, my sanity and for my job I tend to wear out my shoes much quicker than most people. Because I suffer from back issues, buying good shoes is important to me. Often that means shoes are a bit more spendy than I would like but if my back does not hurt, my legs do not hurt and my feet do not hurt then cost really cannot be an issue. If you are curious I only buy New Balance 1012's, just sayin'.....

 

Have you 'liked' us on Facebook yet? If not, here I am to remind you to do so. We do not post things daily but when there are upcoming events, urgent needs and other news which are important to share about it will be on our page. If you see something there you like please share it, that is how the word spreads about what is going on around Open Hands.

Before I end I must share with you a huge milestone that occurred in my family recently. My parents celebrated 60 years of marriage on September 24. Though it was not what I imagine my Dad envisioned due to my Mom's Alzheimer's, it was a celebration none the less. I had secretly asked many friends to send cards of congratulations to them and Pastor Pam Stofferhahn, the Pastor of our church, helped us make a big deal of it as we celebrated with our church family on September 27. Our family celebration took place with my Mom at her apartment as we shared dinner together. It was a great day and left us all with more good memories, just sayin'....

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436 Roy Street North

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