I’ve been doing a lot of public speaking this off season, at schools (public and Christian) and churches. I tell young people how important it is to understand that when it comes to issues of social justice, it’s their generation that is largely under attack. And my message is always very simple. “You can make a difference.”
But you feel like you don’t ever really know if you reached them. Do they really truly believe that they can make a difference?
After what we experienced on Saturday, January 22nd, I would have to say yes, absolutely.
That was our first Feed the Hunger event in Spokane. We linked up with Youthfront of Kansas City, and Mike King and some of his assistants came to Spokane to walk us through the process and help us make sure everything went smoothly.
We put a lot of hard work into it. When the day came, we didn’t know what it was going to be like. We had no idea. Some businesses had contributed, but really we didn’t have a ton of money coming in from donations. It didn’t seem like the donation button on our website was really getting pressed a whole lot.
But at 1:00, the time the event was scheduled to start, someone said to me, “Jeremy, you’ve got to come and look at this.”
There were kids were lined up outside the door of the auditorium, down the side of the building, and into the parking lot. And it was 25 degrees out. I mean, it was cold!
We had to take the kids through orientation, and we could only take twelve kids at a time to show them the process of packaging meal kits. Then we’d put them to work and take twelve more kids through orientation. And then we did twelve more, and so on. We did our best to keep the line moving so the kids wouldn’t get too cold, but it wasn’t moving super fast. But they stood outside in the cold anyway. They were ready.
It was amazing! We had fifteen meal packaging stations going, and it wasn’t enough. Generation Alive’s senior director said she was hoping to get 50 people. And we had 350 people there for four hours, bagging meals nonstop. Kids patiently waited their turn in balcony of the auditorium.
These kids didn’t want an autograph. They didn’t want to have a baseball card signed. They didn’t even want to talk baseball. They wanted to talk about social justice! “Why are we not being told about this on a regular basis?” they asked. “We want to help.” And they were excited. They would say, “I have an idea, why don’t we do this?” These kids were brainstorming with us on the spot! They were saying, “We want to stop by the office, and we want to see how we can do this and that, and how can we be involved.”
All the kids had to pay was 25 cents. That would buy one meal kit. At one point in the afternoon, a church walked in, and one of the pastors, a youth pastor, said, “I’ve been praying and fasting all month for my kids to do this.” He had $2500.00 in quarters that his young people had raised. My jaw dropped! That’s 10,000 meals! His kids had gone house to house. All they did was knock on the door and say, “We’re going to bag meals and feed someone who’s hungry. All we need is 25 cents. Do you have any spare change?” That’s all they did! And they raised $2500.00!
My two nephews and my niece brought in $150.00 worth of quarters that they had raised. My oldest nephew is seven, the next is five, and my niece is three years old. They brought in quarters, and they bagged meals. They helped organize, and they helped pour the food into the funnel.
We packaged 75,000 meals for the food banks in four hours! And just seeing kids from three years of age to parents in their 40s working together like this was just a fulfilling, phenomenal experience.
You can see a couple of pictures here. Next time, I’ll tell you a bit more about these amazing, phenomenal kids. It’s the Gospel at work! See you Tuesday.