My church has finally latched onto a mission cause around which there is some energy and the desire to be involved. At least to some extent. There is a population of international students at a local university and we have decided to adopt them to help take the edge off of transitional dilemmas and challenges, offer them a home away from home, and let them know that someone besides their loved ones are interested in their well being.
There are several things that make sense about this relationship. For one thing it's not an overwhelmingly huge ministry for a small church with limited resources, both human and financial. For another, it's not your average ministry, and for whatever reason it doesn't show up on the radar of the larger churches in our area that would already have responded to this need. It's not exactly widows and orphans, but there is a family of four who had no bed for Mom and Dad to sleep on for the first couple of months that they were here. Needs come in all shapes and sizes. Initially a fundraiser for general purposes, the money raised will now be used to start a scholarship fund.
To help financially, we decided to host a spaghetti dinner fundraiser. Generally popular with the masses, this seemed a manageable event for our facilities and the interest and dedication of some of our reliable membership. We have a reasonable plan of execution to make it a success. That is, if all goes according to plan and as we all know, we plan, God laughs. It didn't help that I was out of town two out of three weeks that fell during a critical period in that execution. As a result, we are scrambling for donations of food so that our proceeds are maximal.
Pasta, anyone? We need about 80 pounds of it. And sauce. And meatballs. We think we've got the salad. We're going to make our own tea and the lemonade for wee folk is a drop in the bucket. Part of our problem is that we didn't have sufficient lead time between the idea of doing this and getting a date on the calendar (which has already been changed once). We are learning that businesses want four weeks notice for donation requests. We are also learning that at this time of years most businesses have maxed out their donation budget.
We are less than two weeks from our event. We will buy what we need if that is what we have to do, make appropriate notes for the second annual spaghetti dinner and highlight deadlines in bold, neon colors. But there is good news. Sixty tickets have been purchased for meals to go to a local campground where homeless families have taken refuge. A ministry to help one group of people offers an opportunity to serve another in need. I like that. A lot. And some of our volunteers have experience with dinners like this, and their wisdom is not only helpful but provides a sense of grounding (I'm trying to keep from going crazy tracking the details of this effort).
Once I post this blog entry I plan to take Juliet for a walk, grab a shower, and get back on the phone in an effort to secure some food. Prayers are welcome, as are checks to cover the cost of pasta and sauce. Or, if you're local, we can use some volunteers the day of the dinner (December 5) or some batches of cobbler for dessert. Or any combination of the above. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how you can help. No, I'm not averse to begging!