These are the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas that I like to think of as the Thankful Days, a time in which we explore our gratitude for the gifts that life has given us, including the gift of life itself. Sure, many of us are caught up in the whirl or even the madness of Christmas shopping, party giving and going, and wondering where the year went. But in the midst of all that, I delight to find moments for quiet reflection, time to take stock, and opportunities to be moved by a continual upwelling of gratitude.
One way I return my thanks for this gratitude is through my support of the Loaves and Fishes program, which now stretches over many years. I write you to ask you to join me in that support. As you know, we serve a hot meal at noon every Saturday, Sunday and federal holiday free to anyone hungry who walks in the door. We expect that come New Year’s Day we’ll have served more than 25,000 meals over the course of the past 12 months.
Those who come for the meals, our guests, are of all kinds. In this letter I’d like to introduce you to George Drew, one of our oldest guests. You might think of Drew, who’s in his early 80s, as the quiet man. Amid the lively chatter of the dining room, he rarely speaks to anyone except Denize Stanton-Williams, our program manager, and one of our volunteers who knows him and sees to it that he gets a second meal to take home for later. Drew agreed, though, to share a few words about his life for use in this appeal for your support Loaves and Fishes.
In a brief conversation with one of our volunteers, Drew recalled that one of the turning points in his life was when he was drafted and served two years in the U.S. Army during the Korean War in 1952 and 1953. The Korean winters were so cold, he said with the ghost of a twinkle in his eye, that when a man at the front stepped aside to relieve himself , the urine froze before it reached the ground. Following the 1953 truce that ended the Korean War, Drew was discharged from the Army and enlisted in the Air Force, where until his retirement from the military he was stationed mostly at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington.
George Drew is basically alone in the world. Aside from his daughter, whom he hasn’t seen in 30 years, he figures that all his family members are dead. He lives in a rooming house and has few possessions. But at Loaves and Fishes he finds a warm welcome. And the food, the food, he says, “It’s the best.”
Modest as his housing is, though, Drew does have a place to live. A survey we took of our guests in October show that 62 percent of those there that day slept either in a shelter or on the street. Our guests’ need for a place to go on weekends for a hot meal and a sense of welcome is urgent, especially in these frigid December days. Your support makes it possible.
Your donation has immediate and direct impact on feeding the hungry. For example:
- $1,000 would cover a one month’s supply of chicken;
- 1,500 will pay for one year of plates and utensils;$400 will pay for one year of napkins;
- $250 will pay for three months of vegetables;
- $50 will ensure that fifteen hungry people have a nutritious meal to eat this week end.
Do join me in sharing your gratitude in these Thankful Days by supporting Loaves and Fishes in our mission to serve the growing number of hungry and homeless among us. Please donate today.
Ed Grandi, Board Chair