By Brittni Robinette
"Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do." Galatians 2:10 (ESV)
Names. Faces. Stories.
As a volunteer with the Grateful Bread Food Pantry in Rockcastle County, I am confronted with these three things on a daily basis. I see everyone from young children to struggling single mothers, to the wizened elderly who have seen such sorrow and beauty in their lives.
I meet families who tell me they would not be able to make ends meet if it weren't for us, that they would have starved long ago. I've met a woman who called upon us for an emergency basket of food after not eating for four days. I've had a person struggling with addiction look me in the eyes and say, "Thank you. You don't know what this means to us".
I've had people hug me, cry to me, tell me their challenges and their excitements, their lows and their highs. And this is why I do it.I've always had a strong urge to help and encourage the hurting. I've always known that God wanted me to dedicate my life to Him, by helping others. I'd always felt it so strongly and so deeply in my heart, that I simply couldn't ignore it.
"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23 (NIV)
It wasn't easy to let go of the plans I had made for myself and go into a whole new place, but because of the compassion and love that God chose to gift me with, I am here. The journey so far has been emotional and new, humbling and scary, but oh so right.
1 Peter 4:10 says, "As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." (ESV)
The food pantry may not be the most glamorous job in the world (I mean, we do spend a large chunk of our time sorting out rotten produce) but it is so meaningful. I can see the love of Christ so clearly here.
I see His love in the green grass that surrounds me and in the community of volunteers I am privileged to live with. I see Him in the face of a three-year-old child who blows me kisses and hops excitedly to get a bite of a fresh apple. I see Him in the crooked walk of an old man who just found out he has pancreatic cancer and will likely not live to see next year. I see Him in the happy laugh of a feisty old lady who hugs us and thanks us for what we do. I see Him in the sighs of an 81-year-old woman who is dying of liver cirrhosis after never touching a drop of alcohol.
I see Him in every person in this beautiful Appalachia, and I feel His love around us all.
"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are." John 3:1 (ESV)
Brittni is serving as an AmeriCorps Food Pantry Caseworker and living in the Rockcastle Volunteer Community. Opinions expressed in volunteer blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of CAP or the Volunteer Program.