I pick up day old doughnuts and pastries at a very generous coffee shop in the city, and have done so at this one location for about six or seven months. It is unusual in that the special care they take of the left over product: most other donations of a similar nature usually result in broken loaf slices, crushed muffins, broken cookies and so on.
At this location, they place the left over product into bins with tongs and they are almost as good as new, even after I have transported them to the office.
I have come to know most of the baristas by name (and they all recognize me), until of course, a new person starts or is transferred to the site from another location.
This week I arrive at the coffee shop and go to the counter and tell the new gal that I am there to pick up the day old product. She looks at me, wondering what this means, and I explain I am here to pick up the ‘day olds’, and she says, “Just a minute, I’ll check with my manager.” I explain how this works, where the bins are, tell her my name (often the ‘Bin Guy’) and she says, ‘Just a moment please,’ and disappears into the back room of the store.
She comes out with one of the regular baristas, and I pick up the bins.
Before I leave, I stop and explain why I am here and what will happen to the ‘day olds’:
“I am going to take these delicious pastries to our drop in and share them with our street friends. They have come to really enjoy these dainties. Thanks so much.”
She looks up at me and very carefully says, “You give me hope.”
Well that felt pretty good! I thank her and when I leave, her words resonate in my mind. I’m not anything special because I’m doing this; it’s a good relationship, people are helped (everyone gets a treat), and the donut shop is spared the onerous task of throwing the donuts into the garbage bin.
As I am thinking on this, it comes to me that this is not about me. Well, yes, I was the visible point person, but it’s more about all of us, the staff and volunteers and donors and prayer partners and business supporters – all of us at OIM – we give people hope! All of us, each in our own roles, each of us doing our own small part – and the collective result is hope for people’s lives.
We give people hope.
Thanks to all who make OIM happen. Together we are making a difference!