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.
Soon, his name was called and one of the volunteer interviewers welcomed him into a small yet private space and began the interview. Nervously, he indicated that he was embarrassed to be at the food shelf. The interviewer quickly put Bill at ease by saying there was no need to be embarrassed and kindly asked what his need was.
With tears in his eyes, he explained how his daughter had dropped off her two grade school children for him to take care of. He wanted to help her out, but did not have enough food or funds to feed them. Reassuring him that he had come to the right place, they talked more about the situation, prayed together and went shopping. As Bill picked out items he thought his grandchildren would like, his embarrassment disappeared and he began to smile.
As Bill left, his face reflected relief as he was encouraged to come back to CES when he needed more food. Bill and his grandchildren will not go hungry this summer!
This story was told as the interviewers sat chatting at the end of a day after assisting those who “came hungry.”
They would love to have you come join them or others Monday –Thursday afternoons! This is just one of the opportunities that are available at CES. [Volunteer opportunities]