What Is Mine to Do?
There are great needs in all of our cities and neighborhoods. Some of the needs require big, complex institutional changes and answers. To say these needs feel overwhelming would be an understatement and I often don’t know where to start. Lynne Hybels, speaking at the Justice Conference in 2014, said a phrase that has become my prayer: “God, what is mine to do?” In the midst of great need all around the world and in our communities, the first step might be to pray and ask God this question for yourself.
In the Tukwila School District, eighty percent of students are eligible for free or reduced school lunches. For nine months out of the year, these students have access to breakfast and lunch at school, but I wonder what happens during the summer? The need doesn’t go away and while there are summer lunch programs in some Tukwila schools, the buses don’t run during the summer. There are major freeways running through the middle of the city, limiting access to these programs and other services.
This summer in Tukwila, Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission has launched a pilot program to address this specific need. In partnership with churches, the Tukwila School District, and apartment complexes, the Meal Mobile is delivering lunches Monday through Friday to three locations in Tukwila. This program is currently serving about 100 lunches each day, but has the ability to serve up to 400 each day. I had the opportunity last week to tag along and see this program in action. It was great to see families come to the van to get a free lunch. One of the apartment managers takes about twenty lunches to pass out later to kids as they got off the bus from summer school. It was wonderful to see the collaboration among the community to help meet this need.
The Meal Mobile makes three stops in an hour, so interaction with families is limited by time constraints. As we were passing out lunches, I wondered what it would look like to have a local church partner for every drop off site. People who would be willing to hand out lunches, to sit down and share a meal, get to know families names, hear their stories, and develop friendships. They could play a game, read a book or color with a child.
Foster Tukwila Presbyterian Church is one of the lunch drop-off sites this summer. Thanks to volunteers from the church, the Meal Mobile is able to just drop off lunches quickly and move along to the final site, while the volunteers at FTPC distribute the meals and get to know the families and their children. They are developing relationships with those coming for a meal each day.
We’re not called to do everything, or get involved with every need that we see; however, God has something for each of us to do. As we sincerely seek the Lord, I believe, He will call us individually and corporately, as members of His Church, showing what He has for us to do.
- Jen Browning