If you know me, you know that I have a very tender heart. And sometimes (as more of a survival technique) I tend to ignore and try to forget people that are less fortunate than we are. Maybe ignore is not the right word. I think I just really thought someone else was handling it. Whether it is the government helping with WIC or the Jimmy Hale Mission providing meals during the holidays, someone else is taking care of the needy.
It wasn't until our son started Kindergarten in Columbiana that I realized how great the need. There were babies that were hungry in the same school as my son, in the same class. How could this be happening? Aren't there programs to help? So we did a few mini food drives during the Fall and we were able to contribute in a very small way.
In January we were in Los Angeles at a videographer's convention, INFOCUS. One of the speakers talked about a passion project they did the previous year. It intrigued me. After all we work very hard every week with wedding after wedding. Doing a passion project would allow us to refuel our creative juices while providing a service to someone that could use it.
The next Sunday our minister, Brian Erickson at Alabaster First United Methodist Church, talked about "identifying a cause that stirs your heart." His sermon, "Give Your Heart a CTRL + ALT + DEL," is posted below. As I listened, I knew I wanted to be able to help those kids/adults that were hungry in Shelby County through Manna Charities. I could just see the video that we could produce as our passion project.
I began to do a little research about Manna and learned that a short non-denominational worship service was held in the old Winn Dixie building in Alabaster, now called Restore. Directly after the guests were able to shop (for a $3 donation if able) for what they needed in the back of an old grocery store. All goods were either supplied by the community (individuals or grocery stores) or bought for discounted rates through a larger food bank. Some 60 - 120 participants, ages up to 85, depended on Manna for their groceries each week.
So the next Saturday (now mind you, this was during our "slow" season) I had my formal introduction to Manna Charities. At 7:00 in the morning, I arrived not really knowing what I would see/hear/learn that day, but ready to help in whatever way I could. Everyone seemed to have their own "job" and before long, all guests were served and we began to clean up and get ready for the next week. I was exhausted and it wasn't even noon!
I came home and told John that I had found my passion project. I just needed him to shoot it for me. I wanted to create something that Manna can send out to local churches for them to show their congregation. Or maybe even showing it to schools and local businesses. I wanted a mini documentary showing the need in Shelby County and what this organization is doing to help. I wanted something that will "stir the hearts" of the people who watch it. And John is the best person to bring out the emotion needed for people to make a difference. The mini doc is not ready yet (as we just filmed it yesterday), but I know it will truly be something amazing, that only John could produce. And when it is, I will share it. I can't wait!
My plea is that each of you reading this post will join me in doing what you can for Manna. Can you organize a food drive at your workplace? Take up cash donations for Manna? Give a few hours of your time helping to serve food on Saturday mornings? I promise you it will be the best way to start your day. Want to learn more, visit http://mannacharitiesinc.blogspot.com.