Streams of Hope

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to do a volunteer project at Streams of Hope. Their organization is aptly named – their programs and services offer families basics like food and after school care but also tutoring, classes, and the opportunity to learn how to start a business. 

The driveway is lined with six large cement flower beds and our first task was to fill them with beautiful flowers that were generously donated by Little Bits Landscape Supply.  We had a group of about a dozen people so some started prepping the beds (yes, that’s me!), pulling weeds and turning the soil, others followed a planogram and arranged the various plants, while the rest planted them in their proper place. As the pots were emptied, I grabbed them and stacked them on a pallet, according to size and color, of course.  There was another guy who seemed to have my same strain of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and was more than happy to help me with my stacking and sorting. 

It was a beautiful warm day, especially for Michigan in May and I was glad when we finished up that task and went inside the building to wash up and work on another task.  Next on the agenda was sorting a huge box full of canned goods, putting fruits, veggies, beans, and miscellaneous cans in milk crates so they could be used to restock the food pantry as needed. 

We were treated to a fabulous lunch donated by Slows BBQ.  There was barbecued chicken, salad, cornbread with honey butter, and probably the best macaroni and cheese I have ever tasted. Even though I knew I would regret it when we started the afternoon tasks, I ate A LOT! 

After lunch, we headed back outside to prep some beds for the community garden and to clear brush and pick up trash and sticks.  Picking up sticks is one of my giftings, having had years of experience on our five acre mini-farm when I was a kid.  After filling a giant trash bag with wrappers, plastic bottles, and other items that shall remain unnamed, I got after the sticks.  There was a wheelbarrow in the shed so wheeled that around the yard and back to the brush pile a couple of times until I was pretty hot and sweaty and was praying that it was almost quitting time. 

It seemed like a break was definitely in order, so I headed back inside for a drink of water and a trip to the restroom.  I noticed that most of the other volunteers my age had spent time filling up the food pantry.  Hmmm, why hadn’t I noticed that task?  Oh well, it’s probably a good thing that I had a work out after that big lunch. 

We ended the day by washing chairs in the dining/classroom and putting together binders for the kid’s soccer program.  We made a sizable dent in the to do list on the board and had things in good shape for the group that was coming in to volunteer the next day. 

Since my days are normally spent sitting at a desk or around a table in a meeting, I was pretty worn out at the end of the day, but worn out in the best possible way.  It’s truly a blessing that my company allows us to do eight hours of paid community service, otherwise I might never have learned about Streams of Hope and everything they do for the community. 

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