Billy is also good at pitching in and helping out when something needs to be done. Well, not at home, but that's a whole different story for a different day. Anyway, Billy is in confirmation. One of the things that the confirmation class does is volunteers to bring and serve a meal at the "Simpson Shelter" , a homeless shelter in Minneapolis. Most kids would volunteer their mom to make something. Not Billy, he signed up to bring the dessert, making cookies.
Eric and I helped a little, just enough that they didn't turn out to his normal standards, but even so, I was pretty proud of him for volunteering.
The confirmation group isn't very big, so they asked if we could sign up for more. I volunteered to make a lasagna. While we were grocery shopping, Eric suggested that we bring two pans....two large pans. Umm...sure, no problem.....5 jars of sauce, 2 boxes of noodles, 3 lbs of hamburger, 12 cups of mozzarella, 2 cups of Parmesan and a few secret ingredients later....
...we had two large pans of lasagna. I baked them at home, we loaded up the van, picked up a van load of kids at the church, and off we went. We had a quick tour of the shelter...this one only houses men...it was pretty humbling to see the mattresses on the floor, the blankets and pillows on a shelf, the one shower....knowing that their other option is to be out on the street.
Next, the food was prepared to be served. There were several other pans of lasagna, a couple of pans of tater tot hot dish, some chicken, a rice dish, vegetables, salads, desserts and milk. The tables were set, the food reheated, and it was time for the men to eat. The confirmation kids did the serving, the rest of us scurried around making sure there was enough food in the line and doing dishes as they came back. We fed 81 people that wouldn't have had a hot meal without volunteers.
It was very rewarding. The best part was the appreciation that some of the men showed. One of the men came up to me before the food was served and said that he had a "split personality" so he needed two plates. Umm...Ok....so that was a little weird....but there were so many heartfelt thank yous. Two men separately came up and said that while the food was delicious, the best part was that it was made with love and they could feel that. And it was.
Helping others however you can is a wonderful thing. Giving just a little brings back so many rewards. I'm grateful to belong to a church that is so quick to give....and I'm grateful for what they are teaching our kids. And I'm grateful for the reminder that one way to feel good about yourself is to focus on others.
On the other hand, just to keep it real about what goes on around here....the lasagna was baking, I just needed to take off the foil and add the Parmesan cheese and let it brown up a little bit. I grabbed the first heavy pan from the oven to move it to the counter top. There was a warning on the label of the flimsy aluminum pan to handle them carefully, but I was in a hurry. I had the pan half way to the counter when it collapsed. The pan landed on the floor, the top cheesy layer of lasagna slide off and landed on the floor. All that work, all that cheese, all that mess...and it was almost time to go. Darn it...double darn it....and no, that isn't what I said....but this is a g-rated blog. After an really loud ERRRRR....I picked the pan off the floor, straightened it out...used a wooden spoon to straighten out the remaining layers...added some spaghetti sauce and more cheese to the top, put the whole thing in a real pan for support and popped it back in the oven. I reminded myself that it was lucky that it hadn't flipped over and been a total loss. Then I scooped the biggest glob of cheese off of the floor and called in the cleaning crew.
Thank goodness for my cleaning crew...she is a ready and willing helper...especially when the job involves floors and food. Whew. What a day.