Be careful what you pray for…you might very well get it!
Have you heard this statement before? I’ve heard it many times in my 67 years of life, but I experienced it dramatically last month.
You may be aware that three weeks ago Gleaning received a donation of two tractor-trailer loads of milk and Minute Maid orange juice – which equated to roughly 264,000 servings. Because of expiration dates, we had less than three days to work with area ministries to immediately distribute and place this nutrition into the hands of poor children.
It was a wonderful success story of the community working together to meet an important need in our area. The rapid pace of this project and the realization that we had helped these local kids simply energized me and I told my Vice President that if more became available to take it!
Well, be careful what you pray for! On Thursday, March 16, my VP asked if we could talk. She had been notified about another potential surplus of juice and milk in the coming weeks.
Not a big problem, I told her. Just bring it in!! Then, she broke the news – it would be 28 tractor-trailer loads! That’s more than one million pounds! A PROBLEM!!
Regardless the logistical challenge, how can we say “no?” This is an amazing opportunity to help struggling families in our own country!
So, we are planning to place 528,000 servings of this nutritious product in our own community. Meanwhile, we have offered the other 24 tractor-trailer loads to food pantries, churches and other non-profits up and down the East Coast.
No, we don’t have the 83 cents per gallon that it costs to obtain, ship and distribute it — but, we are trusting God that he will provide the financial support from friends like you. He has given us this opportunity to make a real difference.
As this milk and OJ situation was unfolding, I received a call from another group offering us socks. Yes, socks!
I know footwear is a real issue for the homeless in our country – especially veterans living in very cold regions of our nation — so I said yes! Send them to us! When the truck arrived, there were 53,000 pair of boot socks! Its retail value is in excess of $530,000 but God miraculously made it available to Gleaning for only $4,500. Again, how could I say “no?”
Another amazing opportunity to help the poor, but again we stepped out in faith because we did not have the $4,500 nor the additional funds needed to ship and distribute the socks to those needing them most. I prayed that we could do something special for our war veterans…and God answered! He did His part!
This sock situation reminded me of the time a Nigerian man came to our warehouse asking for shoes for the women in his tribe. He shared that the women had to walk six miles to a spring each morning and evening, carrying five gallon buckets of water. That was 24 miles a day!
The women were bruising their feet and ankles on the rocks, which resulted in many getting foot infections. Since they did not have nor could they afford antibiotics, the women would have to have their infected feet removed. It was a very sad situation.
We didn’t have anything to help him that day, but I prayed for him and his village before sending him on his way.
Not more than two hours passed when I received a call from James, a warehouse manager of a shoe manufacturer in Lynchburg, and he wanted to send us 7,900 pair of women’s “boots” that had a canvas side and tennis shoe bottom. We took them and immediately sent to them to Nigeria. I was made an honorary member of the Uche Tribe in Imo State, Nigeria!
God truly works in mysterious ways and I have seen so many miracles like this over the past 18 years. That’s why when the milk and orange juice (and the socks!) were made available, I had to say yes!
Our faithful financial partners have empowered me to say yes in the past and I’m counting on you to continue to join with me in pressing forward — providing hope, love and encouragement to people just like you and me.
So, I have prayed, stepped out in faith and God is providing. He has given us an incredible opportunity.
Will you join me today to help hurting children and struggling veterans in our country? God has provided a way, but I can’t complete the task without you.
Your financial gift will make a big difference. It will have real meaning and real impact. I guarantee you that!
Every dollar you give to Gleaning is used wisely and efficiently to do the most good. I take your sacrifice personally and make sure nothing is wasted.
Thank you for your partnership. I look forward to what you decide to do.