It’s hard to think of children going hungry here in Middle Tennessee, especially when we have programs like the Rutherford Summer Feeding program where any child 18 or under can go to a local school and get a free meal. But let me give you a little insight into the BIG picture and why too many children are forgotten. The children who are in the most need of programs like the Rutherford Summer Feeding Program cannot make it there. All too often we see many different circumstances that prevent children from getting to places that can feed them. We see all kinds of stories from families not having transportation to families are struggling with issues like drugs or alcohol and are not in the mind set of helping these children get to feeding programs. It breaks my heart to know that children are forgotten and going hungry during Summer Break which should be one of the most fun experiences of a child’s year. Together we can fill that gap! With the help of school counselors, social workers and our volunteers we find the children who face these issues. We then go shopping for them and deliver food to them each week to ensure they are full, happy and if there are any other needs we can help with those too! They do not need to get to another location. We can take it right to the child whether it is a motel room, campsite, car, etc. Along with the food we can give small toys, activities, prayer, on the spot children’s bible studies and most of all LOVE. This effort cannot happen if we do not have the support of our community! I went shopping today and for a little less then $16 I was able to get a modest amount that would feed a child for a week. We will need quite a bit to feed these children for Summer break which starts May 22. Please help our efforts and make a donation or simply share this information with your friends! Click on the donate link on our website or you can contact Tairra at 615-796-8001 and send a check payable to Club YES.
It was a Saturday and my husband and three year old daughter and I had a very fun and tiring day! We got home from a long morning out in our community and they both crashed out! I wish I could have napped with them but you know how us moms are, we lay there thinking of everything that needs to get done! Well, a nap wasn’t happening for me so I got up and wanted to get some work done but with all the sleepiness in the house I needed a change of scenery. I thought to myself “why not bum off the wifi at the mall, relax in a corner booth and treat yourself to a yummy flavored coffee”. Sounds relaxing right? Well I must admit, at the age of 34 I have forgotten what a mall may look like on a Saturday afternoon. I get to the mall, walk into the bookstore to purchase my coffee and then enter the cafeteria of the mall and it was like I entered another dimension! I have never seen so many rowdy teens in one area. Not to mention it was also prom night. Doing what we do I am always around children so no biggy. I don’t mind the sounds of kids playing and laughing. This may actually help me work……right? Well I guess I am used to being around kids when they know I am listening. Being around kids, especially young teens when they think they are all alone with their friends and they don’t know your paying attention is a WHOLE ‘NOTHA LEVEL. I sat in my corner, pretending to work real hard as I started ease dropping on three young teen boys three tables away from me. I was shocked! They were trying to talk to every girl who passed by which is normal, okay, I get that. They were telling girls their friends had AIDS, herpes, M*Fer was every other word the used. Their conversation got more vulgar and more daring as they got going. I tried to pretend like I didn’t notice but I will admit every time they said something extra crazy I would glance over there in hopes they would be embarrassed and dis-continue. I noticed that every time I did there was one out of the three boys who would see me notice, then kinda hang his head. He was also the only one of them not really participating in the bad behavior but rather just sitting there. I started feeling this “push” on my soul…if that makes sense. I began having this inner dialog with myself. “you should go over there and talk to them”, “I dont wanna, plus I’m here just working minding my own business”, “NO you really shouldn’t just let this opportunity pass by and you should be a witness to them”, “But they are young and I’m just gonna look like the old creepy person”, “I know you don’t want to but you NEED to”, “but, but, i don’t wanna!”. I sat there doing nothing. The more I did nothing the more my heart started pounding out of my chest. I knew God was pushing me to do something and the more I didn’t do it the more it was becoming obvious that I needed to suck it up and do it! While I sat there I remembered a time I was at the very book store I had just bought and incredibly sweet white chocolate coffee from. I was waiting for my husband to get out of the bathroom and I was sitting next to another father and we both had our kids near us. These teens walk in and they were not very shy about their conversation. They were opening talking about sexual experiments that I had never even heard of before. These are things I cannot repeat here and it was incredibly saddening that these children were not only talking about it but comparing notes. I felt that push then to talk to them and I never did anything about it! I turned my head like everyone else and didnt do a darn thing! I still think about that and wish I could go back and have a re-do. I didn’t want this to be one of those times so I got up. I started to walk over to their table as they look at me and even though I just really wanted to pass them and get another coffee, I sat down with them instead. Since I am just flowing with class and elegance my introduction to them went something like this: “I happened to be listening to your conversation and I run a non profit that works with homeless children here in Murfreesboro. I figured that if you have time to sit here and curse and talk to girls about sex and AIDS, you may have enough time to come and volunteer your time to help others”. One of the boys asked me what Volunteering was as the other boy snickered and the one boy who was obviously embarrassed by their behavior just sat there quiet. I started letting them know about how many children their age are homeless here in their own city (they were 13). I also asked them if they were Christian and went to church. I told them that their parents probably wouldn’t be happy about their behavior and that if they took the time to really help others with AIDS, or other ailments instead of joke and make fun of them, that they could really make a positive impact on their community. I gave them our groups phone number and asked them to talk to their parents and call me if they would be allowed to come volunteer with us in a local shelter. I was surprised when their snickers turned into concern and they started asking me questions about the children, the shelters and different ways they can help. Then here is the kicker that probably totally embarrassed them, I asked them if any of them would like to pray for us! They all, almost in uni-sum, took a deep breath and quickly shake their heads no. I figured that so I asked if it was okay if I prayed with them. As I sat there praying with them another loud teen came to the table as one of the three boys hushed him and told him that we were praying. He stood there and prayed with us till we were done. I told them to call us and then I got up and sat back in my little corner, pretending to work once again as I ease dropped. I was certain they would move booths, but they didn’t. More teens came and they only moved to a table closer to me. They still laughed and goofed off but I noticed their conversations took a turn for the better. The numbers of kids around 7-8 pm at the mall only increased. I was surprised. There must be at least 100 young teens all around 13-14 years old, alone with no parents. I know how it appeared. A bunch of “hooligans” taking over the food court. It was like that in the 80’s and apparently nothing changes. Kids just being kids, right? Well what would happen if we were all Christians just being Christians and we didnt give into the worlds morals and we didnt allow ourselves to be callus to the things around us, but instead we took the time to help others and spread the good news even in times when its uncomfortable or we feel like “minding our own business”. Its been a couple days and I haven’t heard from these boys yet but I am hopeful. If God wanted me to open that door for them then it was for good reason. I hope my story has inspired you to be bold and talk to others about your faith and pray when you feel that push, and believe me if you pay attention you WILL feel it. Pray and invite God’s Holy Spirit to use you for his purpose. Fully give in your own plans and ideas for those of the One whom created you, just be prepared for the answer. 😉