Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Care Fair

Seriously, this name sounds like something out of a Care Bears show that M would watch. Infact, I think we did or still do have an episode on VHS about the Care Fair Scare! Ha! But I'm sure that wasn't the intent of our most recent adventure.

So here's the scoop. A Shout Out to my SIL for reminding us about it and encouraging me and M to still go regardless of the fact that it was hot, on a Saturday, I'm hugely preggers, and hubs was home sick. We all went and it was worth our while.

The Brushy Creek Assembly of God (I think this is right) is a church directly across the street from Century Park. Those of you that read this and visit Century Park have most likely seen the big sign out front about free groceries on Wednesdays 5:30-6:30pm. Well, they put out fliers about the Care Fair that they were to have on Saturday May 3rd from 10am till about noon. It advertised that the first 500 families represented would receive a box of free groceries. Well, seeing as our cupboard was almost to empty this month and there was a major freeze on any spending period, this was appealing to me...AND since my brother recently lost his job, this was equally appealing to my SIL. We decided we'd go and see.

On top of the free grocery perk, there were advertised free haircuts, free face painting, free hotdogs, free inflatable games...and the list went on with the very active word being free of course.

On Saturday, M and I headed that direction about 9:15am. not knowing what to expect as far as the number of people that would be there. She wanted Mickey Mouse Pancakes for b'fast, but as hubs was still sleeping, and the cupboard was just about bare, we took our $3 and some change. I ate cereal at the house and she got a donut and brought her own juice. I got some coffee. We headed through the drive through at DD and then on to century park. When we parked, there was already quite a line. we ate, made potty, played a little and then headed to claim our place in line.

Now when you have a 2 yr. old you know that waiting in line is not the easiest thing to do, but God and M gave me a bit of a break that day cause she did really well almost all day...and there were several lines!

They allowed people in in groupings. Mainly cause they forced you to hear a gospel presentation before you could wander around to all the free stuff. Now, I'm not sure how I feel about all that, because I certainly can't complain! Everything was free...AND they didn't ask for all my contact info so they could come knocking on my door, calling, or sending unbelievable amounts of mail.

The presentation lacked quality and theology that I prefer, but my background is such that most of such things would. Seminary degree, varying larger church atmospheres...And you know I appreciated it all the same. The theological things were more blaring to me, but those actually came more in the music and lyrics. "There's a blessing in the room it yours?" "there's a place were RELIGION never dies!" Still M loved the Sisters in Motion and enjoyed dancing with her momma to the music (ah the freedom that children find in that--no inhibitions).

Then we're off! On to the ticket for groceries! On to booths about Free Medical Care, some things that didn't really apply to me, AND a free diapers booth! M doesn't need them, but they gave me some for baby boy! Hallelujah! Then we checked out the fire truck, ambulance, motorcycles, and the police men. M really liked the police badge sticker! Off to the free hot dogs! Free chips and bag of cookies! Free beverage! And M spots the face painting. Now this is VERY high on her priority list! So she gets 2 hearts on one cheek and a free balloon that has to be blue please. It has a big star on it that says Jesus' light shines on me!

She decides she absolutely does want a hair cut, so we wait in line for this. The gals were from the Greenville Tech and the teacher was there. Talk about meeting a demand! Wow! so we wait! And this is where her naptime starts to catch up with us, but she managed to remain distracted with lunch. She gets a hair cut that is shorter than i'd like, but a VERY GOOD CUT actually. I was pleasantly surprised considering how little she cooperated AND the wind that had picked up. Yes...this was all in a row outside!

Now for our box of food. When I say they had plenty, they must have cause we basically were at the end of the line when all was said and done and they carried a box to my car AND I was able to get a free loaf of bread. I nice loaf, not some mediocre hand me down left over loaf. All FREE!
AND on top of it all, they told me to please come back, that on Wednesdays they do the free groceries and diapers, and the family is allowed to do that once a month! They didn't care who I was or my socio-economic status. They didn't care that I don't really qualify for lower income but I'm barely making it in middle class. All they cared about was that I cared enough for my family to be there, and get help.

This is something you don't see alot. I dare go into pointing fingers cause we are all guilty I assure you! They gave because they loved. They did this most likely because they felt led by God to act out in social justice in much the same way that Jesus did. I was blessed to be a recipient, and I hope to be reminded and blessed to be a giver in the future. It's not always easy. The people all around me were all soooo different! Older feeble people who probably had trouble with the month to month, lots of young families with strollers full! And all in between. I was blessed to be amongst them. I feel like Jesus was probably there in the midst as well. How much the forced presentation did or did not reach would be hard to say and I could really break it down and do free consulting, but what does speak is that they are reaching out to the community. Not just once for this fair, but consistently on a weekly and monthly basis.


Shelby said...

I have to agree with everything you said... I go back and forth on my feelings... on the one hand, very BLESSED by their efforts and very THANKFUL. On the other, I kept thinking of possible other "more effective" ways to share the gospel. K and I both had to "rethink" our initial thoughts on the whole deal but the bottom line is that a) they got people there b) they did share the gospel c) they had great participation from their church members and d) they met great physical needs of people in the community... lessons for all of us to learn!