Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 04-12-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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Page 38 of 59

VALLEY BREEZE LIVING EDITION | APRIL 12-18, 2018 AT HOME 7 Stepping outside my comfort zone CUMBERLAND – An opportuni- ty knocked at my door, really at my heart, and I timidly opened it. An announcement at my church stated a real desperate need for volunteers, and it was not the first time I had heard it. But this time felt different to me. I offered to help (committed) and the details followed from Steve and Christy Hill who have been quite involved in a proj- ect called Mobile Loaves and Fishes for a long time. Mobile Loaves and Fishes is named based on the story of a miracle Jesus performed, feed- ing the multitude of people with just five loaves of bread and a couple of fish. "Meet up at Emmanuel Church, on Nate Whipple Highway in Cumberland at 10:30 a.m. next Saturday," Steve said. The Mobile Loaves and Fishes truck delivers food to the homeless in Woonsocket every third Saturday of the month through Emmanuel Church whose volunteers host the preparation and work really hard. An email came around and a small list of grocery items were sug- gested: hotdogs, up to six packages, 60 bananas, chips, bottled water and some other items if you were able you could donate. I chose to buy 60 bananas, a very strange shopping trip indeed. When I arrived at Emmanuel, there were already people busy mak- ing peanut butter and jelly sandwich- es, stuffing baggies with chips, sort- ing and filling bags with toiletries, hats, gloves, and a clean new pair of men's or women's underwear. I was drawn to the PB & J table, and quickly some ladies with the know-how instructed us with the best way to do it. You see, making 150 sandwiches requires a system, and they had one. Some other people I knew from my church had come and we formed an alliance of sorts, since we'd never done this before. Next, we moved into the kitchen area where we watched a huge pot of water try to boil in order to cook the many hotdogs. "We always try to have something hot for them," said a woman in the kitchen. We fluffed open 125 foil-lined hot food bags, prepped the buns and once the dogs were ready they were assembled into place. The hot food is the last pre- pared in order to keep it warm for delivery. While people were busy packing the foods inside, another crew had begun to fill the catering truck out- side. There was a brief how-to in the parking lot before we left. Our names were taken, carpools were arranged and Steve led the caravan driving the truck. Christy rode in the front seat and Judy, Deb and I rode in the back which was help- ful because I had a lot of questions about what we'd be doing. "Try not to give more than one of everything," we were told. "They might tell you they need a bag (of food) for a family member who is sick." So we were advised to say you can have another bag but you'll have to go through the line first, then get back in line in order to be fair to everyone. "Use your best judgment," Christy said. But then came the scary part. "This is a food ministry, introduce yourself, ask the person what his or her name is and guide that person through the line to the truck. Once you do that and get to the actual serving station, offer choices and help fill the bag." Well this brought a new challenge to me. I am able to donate money, buy canned goods and leave at drop-offs, but I never had to actually talk to someone in need. "What will I say?" I wondered. "Don't assume everyone likes yogurt, or peanut butter. Make sure to offer choices. Just because they are homeless does not mean they will want to eat everything," we were told. We are offering humanity, hope and kindness. I wondered if I had that ability? I'll be honest, I was a little bit out of my comfort zone. The first stop was a parking lot under the train trestle in downtown Woonsocket behind Social Square. There was a group of at least 100 people (mostly adults) and they knew we were coming. A line was forming as the truck arrived. There were a good amount of volunteers too. Our carpool pulled up behind the truck and people jumped out ready to serve. There were teens and tweens from youth groups and the rest of us. Hot coffee and hot chocolate at the back of the vehicle was served up with a smile. Feeling like a fish out of water I followed instructions from the church parking lot, rolled up my sleeves and began passing out bags to folks standing in the line. Then, I found the first person who seemed to need a go-to person to help them through the line. "Hi I'm Rhonda," I said to a woman in line. She smiled a grin that was missing a few teeth and we began to talk. She was pleasant but a bit distracted by someone else in line behind us. After raising her voice to argue with the other woman, she quickly regrouped, looked at me shaking her fist and said, "Ooooh I almost said something I shouldn't say." I took the opportunity to tell her "good job" for regaining her com- posure. I also shared that when my granddaughter gets upset, I tell her to take deep breaths. "You can't continue to be angry if you keep breathing," I said. We went through the line, somewhat bonded now, we filled her bag and she was gone. The next person I connected with was a lovely young girl. What struck me most was her beautiful complex- ion. She was maybe 16, and very shy and quiet. I introduced myself and she only answered direct questions. Her mother came back into the line and offered that this girl was her daughter. Mom was quite animated, but very spiritual in her own way. Her frizzy hair blew in the steady cold wind and her face was weathered like someone who'd lived outdoors for a very long time. She wore gloves – the kind with no fingertips – and she had a great smile with kind eyes, but a streetwise toughness as well. "I met your daughter, she is so quiet," I said. The mom then pro- ceeded to tell me about her daugh- ter. "She is a quiet one, she makes up for my son who is autistic. He never stops making noise," she said. "She (referring to the girl) almost died when she was born, could have fit in your hand," mom added. "They left her for dead, but she did not die." Next what she offered up was pro- found. Out of the blue she said to me, "People should help each other out like the animals do. Animals huddle together to keep each other warm, they share food too. On the planet I came from, people are nice to one another." And her last com- ment made me laugh out loud, "Oh yeah, the planet I came from didn't have kids with green and purple hair either!" I wondered to myself, what happened in her life that here she The MOBILE LOAVES & FISHES RHODE ISLAND truck is the vehicle volunteers use to help distribute meals to people without a place to call home and those in affordable housing communities. Volunteers stock the truck with hot meals, sand- wiches, snacks, fruit and beverages before traveling to Woonsocket to deliver them. The Recipe Box RHONDA HANSON See LOAVES, Page 11 ACROSS 1. Upon 4. Roman Statesman 8. A protective cov- ering worn over the face 10. Perfected 11. British school 12. Colored with red powder 13. Tivoli 15. What bowlers hope to knock down 16. Finnish lake 17. Damaged regions of tissue 18. World-renowned guitarist 21. Political action committee 22. Oxygen reduction system 23. Part of a circle 24. Italian monk's title 25. Kidney problem (abbr.) 26. One point east (clockwise) of due north 27. Home to a world famous bay 34. Mollusk 35. Large nest of a bird of prey 36. Predict 37. Reconnaissance 38. Move in a partic- ular direction 39. Cut with a tool 40. True firs 41. Heaven's oppo- site 42. Employed 43. "Partridge Fami- ly" actress Susan DOWN 1. Induces vomiting 2. Gloss or sheen on wood furniture 3. Meteorological line 4. Help shoppers save money 5. Heart condition 6. What tweens become 7. __ and ends 9. Small knob 10. Island capital 12. Refinisher 14. Brazilian city 15. Pearl Jam's debut 17. Resinous substance of an insect 19. Stretched out 20. Bag-like struc- ture in a plant or animal 23. Reference works 24. Hoover's office 25. Confused 26. The Science Guy 27. A young woman 28. Used to express good wishes 29. Body part 30. Draw blood 31. Curved 32. __ Kidman, actress 33. Profoundly 34. Fools 36. Wife (German) Answers to this week's crossword puzzle can be found on page 22.

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