The Spirit in Action at Thanksgiving Blessing
Wow! Over 300 families – more than 1000 Eagle River people — were provided a Thanksgiving meal, all from the donated food and manhours of hundreds of volunteers. Who led this gracious event? Our Lord Jesus Christ inspired literally hundreds of people in Eagle River to take strong and dedicated action to help their neighbors in need.
First, thousands of local Christian families donated Thanksgiving foods to fill the baskets! In October, I saw kids, teens, and adults all dropping off cans and boxes of food in their Church to feed the hungry. By this united mission, we collected “tons” of food to feed the hungry. For as our Lord Jesus Christ said in the Gospel of Matthew, “for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink ... inasmuch as you did it to the least of My brethren, you did it to Me.” Matt. 25:35-40.
Second, so many people put their Christian faith in action and did volunteer work for the event. What did they do? Men worked outside at 3 degrees for hours carrying frozen turkeys. Teens and moms loaded up shopping carts of food for the needy families. Veterans carried groceries to the cars for mothers and others. Pastors and laymen prayed and counseled those who asked their assistance. Seniors in their 70s provided copies of the Gospel, helpful information, and free children’s gifts to families -- all these works were done to love our neighbor.
Third, the Christian spirit of respect and love for all people warmly poured out from our volunteer team! Our goal was to share the hope and love of God with our neighbors; many who are in difficult situations. One neighbor was in his eighties, and said, “with my health this might be my last year”. Another was a single women with her arm wrapped in a cast and surgical hardware. Another was a mother with 5 children. One was an older Viet Nam veteran. So many people in tough times, and yes, some had made poor choices. We are not blind to human faults, and were ever ready to offer counsel when asked. We just remember to love the sinner and hate the sin. For we are all made in the image of God!
Last and so important, many people spent months planning and organizing this ‘Thanksgiving Blessing’ -- all with the spirit of serving their neighbors! The tireless preparation work of this team of volunteers from different Christian churches was especially vital to this successful event.
We thank all who helped. May all the glory be to God!
Kevin Dougherty is President of Love In the Name of Christ (Love INC) and a member of St. John Orthodox Christian Church.