Originally written for the St. Peter’s E-Net sent out September 1, 2013.
Every morning I begin my day with prayer. Part of that time includes reflecting on Brother, Give Us a Word a daily offering from the Society of St. John the Evangelist. Today’s word is offering. Bother David Vryhof writes the following about offering: “The problems that surround us will always be overwhelming, our resources will always be insufficient, but God tells us to offer them anyway. Do what you can do; give what you can give – even if it seems ridiculously insufficient.” This year, we decided to provide a new offering for our Community Market families – The First Day of School Drive.
Going back to school can be a complicated emotional experience. There is the joy of seeing friends, and the excitement of a new year. There is also a myriad of more complicated emotions; sadness that the summer is over, the nervousness of being accepted, etc. For a growing number of kids in our neighborhood, there is yet another challenge for going back to school – not being able to afford the supplies a student needs to succeed.
As the registration forms came in, I became more and more nervous about the number of kids who needed supplies: ten, twenty, thirty, forty kids! That is a lot of backpacks, notebooks, folders, and glue sticks.
With donations from the congregation and shopping done by our volunteers we were able to get all the supplies needed for all forty kids from the Community Market. A fabulous group of volunteers gathered yesterday to fill these backpacks with all the supplies these kids will need; and today parents and kids will come and pick them up.
It is easy for us to think that our efforts are not even beginning to make a dent in the needs of the community, or that maybe we should not even bother because we cannot end the need. Now more than ever, it is important that we keep doing whatever we can no matter how ridiculously insufficient it may seem. Here is why: Yesterday afternoon, a mother with her two children came by to pick up their backpacks. The mother was so incredibly grateful that we could help provide what she is not able to. But, the best part was the reaction of her two kids. As her daughter opened her bag she shouted, “Look at all the cool stuff I got!” Her brother was just as excited that his bag was cooler than any bag he has ever had.
It is an amazing gift to be part of this experience for these families, to see that joy and excitement on the kids faces, and the sincere thanks and gratitude from the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. No matter how little we think we are doing, we are make an amazing difference in the lives of those in our community. As Br. David reminds us that we are called to, “Do what you can do; give what you can give – even if it seems ridiculously insufficient.”