There are many stories to be shared from Grace now, but a few stand out.
A few years ago, my husband and I were eating dinner at the Chinese buffet when a woman in her 50s came up to our table. She looked familiar, and I was in that “I know you but can’t place you” state in my mind. She identified herself as a former Grace Now client and wanted to thank us for helping her. She was excited to tell us that she had just finished a nursing degree at a local community college and that the help the food pantry gave her during a difficult time had meant a lot to her.
A certain man has been coming to the pantry for at least as long as I’ve been associated with it. He’s a short, rotund man whose plaid shirt never seems to button completely around his belly. His face is scruffy and his hands are always black with grease and dirt. When he speaks, I have to listen carefully because he mumbles a bit. In other circumstances, I might be tempted to avoid contact with him–but I’d be missing out on being around one of the sweetest people in the world. Several years back, he came into Grace Now on his birthday. The former director of the food pantry said to him that if she had known it was his birthday she’d have baked him a cake. He then confessed that he’d never had a birthday cake. The next day, she baked him a cake and took it to his house. The next time he came into the pantry, my husband–ever the jokester–was ragging on Mr. M for eating the cake because he’s diabetic. “You stay out of my business,” he laughed as he wagged a finger in Glenn’s face. (People have been known to be disappointed if Glenn isn’t working, asking “Where’s the guy that always picks on me?”). And every time since then when Mr. M comes into Grace Now there’s a lot of laughing and joking and hugging.