The holidays are times to remember, times to reflect, and times to appreciate. We remember the irreplaceable blessings of holidays past and moments shared with loved ones. We reflect on the gracious love of God who gives us these memories and fills us with longing to respond in gratitude. And we appreciate the simple gifts of having plenty of food on the table, and friends or family members to share it with.
We know this year the holidays will be different. While we are all affected somehow, many in our community have lost jobs or had income reduced. Some may be cancelling holiday dinners not for safety reasons, but for lack of food. At the Helping Hands Food Pantry in Wesley Chapel, we are seeing an increase in new families registering to receive food. This month, our drive-through pantry has had days with over 300 cars coming in.
If you have food in your cupboard this season and are able to remember, reflect, and appreciate – don’t stop there. Find creative ways to help in the community. I remember the news story of one Cleveland, Ohio couple who got married back in August. After the ceremony, they showed up at a local shelter to serve meals, still wearing their wedding outfits.
With so many who are experiencing an extra-difficult holiday season, local churches, shelters, and food pantries could use additional help for the holidays. Hosting a food drive in your neighborhood, or volunteering at a pantry or shelter could be an unforgettable way to celebrate the spirit of the holiday season.
At our Helping Hands Pantry we can always use food donations, but we’re especially in need of strong volunteers to do heavy lifting on weekday mornings. If you are looking for a “workout” that exercises your body AND your soul, we could use your help! Call our church office at (813) 973-2211 between 10am and 3pm and ask about volunteer opportunities at the food pantry. And always remember, reflect, and appreciate the God who gives us all good things!
Pastor Scott Lindner
Atonement Lutheran Church
Wesley Chapel, Florida