Each year, CES holds a Thanksgiving Distribution just before the holiday. Gratitude emanates from those gathered - as was the case with one such family.
Ned* and his two children walked into CES one cold November day. The kids were excited when they saw a table of cookies and apple cider. This was the family’s first Thanksgiving without their mother, who had passed away from cancer. Their savings had been used to help in the last days of her life. Therefore, as Thanksgiving Day approached, Ned realized that they would not be able to afford the food they would usually cook.
Now, thankful that he was able to be a part of the CES Thanksgiving Distribution, Ned brought the family along. Volunteers milled around, engaging in conversation and making them feel comfortable. After they went through the line, a driver took the family with their Thanksgiving food home. Ned shared, “We were nervous coming, but what fun we had! It is wonderful to experience the love and care as well as the food. Although we will have a great Thanksgiving meal, we are most grateful for the community of CES.”
*names changed to protect client anonymity
I am so grateful for Community Emergency Service! I don’t know what I would do without your food shelf!” responded Shirley* as she walked with the Advocate to the cubicle to talk. About three months before, her daughter was killed in a tragic accident and her three granddaughters came to live with her. The children’s father is from another country, and they are trying to get him to America. Life changed dramatically! On a fixed income, Shirley now had three more to feed.
Although it seems like an impossible situation, Shirley said, “We are doing well. Because of CES, I can feed the children. I come here once a month for the food shelf and every Friday for produce and bread distribution. However, the most important thing I look forward to is the prayer I receive and the Daily Bread devotional.
With the kindness of those at CES, I am encouraged each month to keep going.
Seed Round Up at Seward Co-op
From October 1-31, Seward shoppers and owners rounded up for CES to help provide holiday baskets for our neighbors in need.
As of October, the total was $21,000 and counting!
Director’s Discourse by Mike Lloyd,
Executive Director at CES
Commitment to community has been a critical part of Community Emergency Service (CES) over our 44 year history.
CES has been blessed with many friends and partners from the very beginning. Over the next few months, I will share about some of these partners and their critical role in the longevity of CES, and in helping to achieve our calling “beyond bread to the bread of life, beyond ourselves to Jesus Christ.”
Jim Cardle, one of our volunteers has been serving neighbors for many years and doing it with joy. This joy is contagious and Jim has brought half a dozen friends and family members to join him in his volunteering efforts bringing hope to many.
Our MOW program has expanded radically over the past six months. Many Meals on Wheels programs in Minnesota are struggling with long term sustainably. They simply lack the economy of scale to keep costs low, the ability to recruit volunteers, or the expertise needed to sustain a non-profit organization. What most of them do have is a wonderful abundance of motivated and passionate people who care about the quality of life for aging Americans.
Bill (not his real name), a grandfather, walked apprehensively up to the CES intake desk glancing around uncomfortably. He was greeted by a smile and a friendly, “How can I help you? Have you been here before?” When he responded that he had not, Jean Anderson (volunteer) took his information down and gently told him to wait until his name was called. As he sat in the calming atmosphere, surrounded by the stained glass windows and the Augustana Lutheran Church altar, he relaxed a bit.
Hunger Doesn't Take a Vacation
Summer is here with all its activities, vacations, family time and fun. However, for those CES serves, they may not have funds for food, much less vacations. People each week come to CES hungry, but more importantly, they need our love and care during this time.