We have an abundance of blessing in our lives. The first one that comes to mind is our salvation, but there are many, many more. We have our health, local family, a great group of friends (who we don’t get to see often enough(sorry)) a roof over our heads, food in our refrigerator, cars that work, clean clothes to wear, etc.
A while ago, new mom was looking for a way to give back and teach our little guy about helping others. Our church does a number of outreach ministries and events to help in both our community and beyond. One of the ministries that caught her eye was the PB&J ministry. There was a small group that gets together one Friday evening a month to make sandwiches for the homeless as well as assemble hygiene kits for them as well. A very family friendly ministry and something our little man can help with while learning to help others. So we tried it out. We all enjoyed it very much.
We continue to participate in the monthly get together at the church and become regular participants of the ministry. One month the couple that ran it asked us out to dinner after one of the get togethers and we said we would love to. At that dinner they said they had been doing it for just over five years and it was time to start looking for new leaders and asked new mom and I if our family would be the leaders of the new ministry. We prayed on it and said we would love to.
So July of 2017 was the first month we were in charge of the ministry and we have had a blast running it and helping others. At one point we had to rename the ministry after we stopped using peanut butter and had to switch (we now use Sunflower seed butter (graciously donated to us by Trader Joes!). After trying to come up with a new name (I recommended “The ministry formerly known as PB&J”(I was a little bitter)) new mom recommended Shepherds’ Sandwich (our church is Good Shepherd) which was quickly embraced by all.
So we rely on donations! We have friends and fellow congregation members who travel OFTEN for work. they collect the toiletries at the hotels they stay in and collect them, bringing them in from time to time. As I mentioned before, Trader Joes donates the sunflower butter (man, that stuff is expensive!) and we get various donations from time to time.
We mix the sunflower butter with grape jelly making a spread that looks an awful lot like chocolate pudding!
That is used to make the Sandwiches and then one we are done with that, we set up an assembly line type row and send a bag down the line, with each member dropping an item into the bags. We have soaps, shampoos, deodorants, toothbrushes and toothpaste, wash cloths, lotions and more.
We make as many sandwiches a dozen loaves of sandwich sized bread will give us and 70 kits every month. 40 of those kits go to the Salvation Army’s men’s shelter and 30 go to the courtyard, an area that feeds the homeless and provided basic services for them.
It is our way of trying to give back and teach our little man that there are those out there who are less fortunate and do not have the same things he and his friends have. We want him to know that there are others out there without things that we may take for granted. Our extended family has embraced it as well, our nephew has participated a number of months and new mom’s parents have also been participants. We always invite our friends and a few have made it. Last month our little guy brought some of his fellow cub scouts to help and learn about helping others (they also earned a merit badge).
If you are local and want to participate, please reach out and I will share the details. If you have access to individual sized toiletries that can be donated (Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothbrushes, floss, lip balm, hand sanitizer) please reach out as well.