I remember driving all the way from Durham to Charlotte on a cold Saturday morning several years ago with my family to volunteer for some kind of food packing event. We didn’t know what to expect. None of us had any experience with this type of ministry before, but we were prepared to serve. We had also heard from Jeff and Suzanne Yoh that this particular event was kind of a big deal as there was a milestone of sorts that was going to be surpassed that day. Upon arrival, we could sense that there was a buzz in the air.
Servants with a Heart packed their One Millionth meal that day.
One. Million. Meals.
We stopped in the middle of the event to celebrate and I remember Jeff and Suzanne were so excited and proud of that achievement and rightfully so. One Million was written on the special box of food.
The media took notice and we watched them on the national news!
Fast forward. Waaaaay forward to February 2019 and more than 15 Million meals later, not only is the ministry thriving, it has grown in size and scope. So much so that it has spread well outside of the Charlotte area, with food packing events here in the part of NC that I call home. I was so excited to be asked to lead the annual event on the Duke campus with the Duke Center for Christianity and Scholarship. I enjoy working with college kids. So much energy.
As a group, we came together in spite of the cold rain. College students have significant competing priorities these days, but about 120 of them came together that day, some from as far as Raleigh. Several groups of philanthropic Duke students showed up. A track team from NC State. A few grizzled adult food packing veterans. A volunteer fork lift driver. Representatives of Duke Athletics and Facilities.
Remarkably, in spite of the rain, there was a lot taking place on the Duke campus that day. Baseball games, Lacrosse game. Tearing down Krzyzewskiville in the mud. A huge event celebrating Women and Girls in Sports.
What I enjoy the most about these events is the ability to make such a huge impact. During our event, we packed 50,000 meals. And we did it in just a few hours. Everyone stepped up. What we hadn’t experienced, we figured out on the fly. Everyone there was willing to do whatever was asked of them. And always with a smile and a servant’s heart. There’s a sense of purpose and accomplishment as these events wind down that is like no other. Everyone’s tired – but a good tired. 100s of people will have access to food when they may otherwise go without. So as the last pallet was loaded on to the truck headed back to Charlotte, as the cold, soaked shivering forklift driver headed home and I walked the empty gym, I remembered the smiles and laughter of the volunteers who came together and made a difference that day.
Jeffrey Husen, Newly Minted SWH Eastern NC Event Manager!