At first I didn't see him standing there. Things were so busy that day and there were people everywhere. One of the volunteers stopped me and said, "Jennifer, there's a man standing over there looking for some food."
As I walked over to him, I noticed his eyes were glassy. He looked sad, defeated, tired. He looked down at the ground and said, "Do you have any food? I'm living in my truck and I don't have any way of cooking it. I'm also diabetic."
My heart sank. We had been offering the clothing closet for maybe just a couple months and really hadn't started collecting food to keep on hand. I told him to wait and minute and let me see what I could round up. I found what I could in the pantry and told him to come back during the week and I would make sure to have some food.
He didn't come back that next week and I often thought about him and wondered how he was doing.
And then, about a month later he walked into my office. The man who stood before me looked like a different person. He was more upbeat. He smiled and said, "I just came in to say thank you for helping me. I'm doing much better now."
I was dumbstruck for a moment. All we did was give him a small bag of food.
But as I minister to people through Manchester Hope Outreach, I'm learning what we're doing means so much more. We aren't just giving physical items to people in need, we are showing them that we love them and we care. We are showing them that they aren't just a statistic or a project.
We are getting the opportunity to build relationships and walk life with people who may feel abandoned or rejected by others.
After just a few months, this man is now someone very special to me. After giving me a hug not too long ago, he was asked by someone he knows, "Are you related to her too?"
His response was, "No, she's a good friend."