Sunday, October 02, 2011

Giving Thanks

The Board of Directors and the Volunteers of the Winthrop Hot Meal Kitchen would like to say thank you.

Thank you to the little boy who came to the farm one Sunday afternoon with his mother. He had raided his piggy bank of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters, rolled them all up, carried them up the walkway and put them in my hands. Surely, a child shall lead them.

Thank you to the 50 people, mostly from our community, but from as far away as Wisconsin and New Mexico, who contributed $3,600 or pledged more if needed since September 3. We also give thanks to all the people who anonymously left cash at the door or have offered their help to cook and serve a meal.

Thank you to St. George’s Episcopal Church in New Orleans, Louisiana, for your generous contribution to a soup kitchen way up here in Winthrop, Maine.

Thank you to Phoenix Farm for donating bushels of tomatoes, boxes of cucumbers, and hundreds of pounds of potatoes so our hot meal every Wednesday can feature organic, local food. Thanks also to the singing woman who brought bags of fresh fallen peaches every week till her trees said no more, the man who did the same with his apples, the young man who brought a big bag of cucumbers from his garden, and the man who donated seeds to grow part of next spring’s meals.

Thank you to the young woman who walked up one Wednesday bearing whole grain biscuits. They were good as heaven. Her heart was open. So open. "I'm just here for the people,” she said. “Call on me whenever. I'll peel garlic. Anything at all. I don't care. I'm just here for the people." She brought banana muffins the next week.

Thank you to a neighbor who made minestrone, a woman who made potato salad, the young woman who made seafood chowder and apple pie, and the couple who baked brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and pineapple bread. All of it was marvelous.

Thank you to the man who drove all the way down from Waterville one Wednesday to drop off savory baked ziti with sausage to round out a nutritious meal just as the potato salad ran out.

Thank you to the couple who delivered a trailer load of sturdy shelving so we have a place to store dry goods, the woman who cleared out her freezer of Kentucky ham and her cabinet of canned goods, dried beans and pasta, and all the people who dropped off bags and containers and cartons.

Thank you to the members of American Legion Post 40, Camp Mechuwana, and the Winthrop United Methodist Church for trying to find a way to make a home for the soup kitchen at your facilities. We also thank the people who suggested other locations, such as the Winthrop Grange or the Masonic Lodge.

Thank you to all the concerned citizens in Kennebec County who attended our last board meeting to offer invaluable advice on how to move forward.

Last, but certainly not least, thank you to the parishioners of St. Francis Xavier who have wholeheartedly supported the soup kitchen for more than 25 years with your contributions and your time. To this day, you rally to keep the soup kitchen right where it’s been to continue the mission of feeding the hungry. As a wise bishop once said, “There’s a hunger beyond food that’s expressed in food, and that’s why feeding is always a kind of miracle.” And so we give thanks to the people of the church who’ve made so many small miracles for so many of our most vulnerable citizens over so many years

Amidst this outpouring of support from our awesome community, we’re still searching for a home. Until then, we’ll continue serving a hot meal to-go every Wednesday at Annabessacook Farm, 192 Annabessacook Road in Winthrop. Meals are available, no questions asked, on a first-come, first-serve basis from noon until 6pm. If you know someone in need but maybe too proud to take one or who simply can’t get around, then pick up a meal and take it to them. Please. If you have any questions, call 377-FARM. And if you’d like to contribute to the cause, please send a donation to Winthrop Hot Meal Kitchen, P.O. Box 472, Winthrop, ME 04364.

Wherever we go from here, you can follow our progress on our Facebook page where you can access meeting schedules, minutes and menus. Together, we can do this. Together, we will.

Thank you again. Take care of your blessings.

(This essay first appeared in the Community Advertiser on October 1, 2011. Cross-posted to Winthrop Hot Meal Kitchen.)

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