- told by Maryellen Skan, HD Volunteer
“As I rang the doorbell, I heard singing as Dave* came to the door. ‘Good day! How wonderful. God bless you for coming with my food,’ Dave continued as he either hummed another tune or sang a short song. Dave was so thankful for the groceries we brought, but more importantly the time together,” Maryellen shared.
Talking with others like Dave is one of the reasons Maryellen volunteers with the Home Delivery (HD) program. But, how did she come to work with HD?
Maryellen Skan began 15 years ago as the liaison between her church, Our Saviours’s Lutheran Church, and CES. She coordinated with church members and CES on several fronts; they volunteer, donate food all year and added CES to their Mission of the Month for both February and March in participation with the Minnesota March FoodShare.
At one point, Maryellen’s congregation did the Home Delivery food distributions at Hiawatha Towers for those who had a hard time getting to the grocery store. She became the coordinator for the volunteers from her church. “It is a great way to involve different age groups with a limited commitment, once a month for us.”
For the past five years, Maryellen has delivered HD on Thursdays to individual clients in need of groceries and produce.
“These people are so special,” said Maryellen. “I enjoy getting to know the clients. Not only do we give them groceries which they really need, we spend some personal time with them, listening to them share, albeit for just a few minutes sometimes. There are many different personalities, but each is so thankful! It is really about the relationships we develop.”
“Recently, my husband and I volunteered at a packing event at Second Harvest Heartland that would go to different food shelves. Saundra Holden from CES informed me that CES is able to get those items at $.03 a pound. What a trickle down effect! At CES, it’s wonderful to work alongside many organizations who supply food to those in need, much of which goes to HD clients.”
Maryellen continued, “Volunteering with CES Home Delivery is a great opportunity for helping others. I can honestly say that working with the CES staff is great! They work hard, do not complain, and are deeply devoted to serving others every day. I look forward to my time with CES and Home Delivery. It is so rewarding.”
Come join Maryellen and others like her who volunteer, giving cheer and hope to others!
*Client name changed to protect anonymity
“Hey you, come over here and get some food,” a red haired lady behind a walker called as Arden rode past CES on his bike over 10 years ago.
What brought you to CES? I was a Dentist for many years and recently retired. Mt. Olivet has a group that comes to help the Home Delivery (HD) program, of which I have been a part. About one year ago, I began to help HD as the delivery driver on several Mondays and Wednesdays a month as well as packing pet food for Ani-Meals, a pet food distribution.
What keeps you coming back? Basically, I go home thankful for what I have. It has been enlightening; when I see the callousness of others towards those in need, I am grateful to be able to make a little difference. Although I have contact with clients only once a month, I am beginning to feel a connection with them.
“As I walk up 4 flights of stairs, I know I will see a smile on Bob’s (not his real name) face as I deliver his hot meal. Bob is in a wheelchair and lives in a building with no elevator. I often wonder how he gets in and out of his building. But, I definitely know that I’m making a difference in providing Bob this service.”
“Can I play a song for you?” asked Tinman, guitar in hand. “I brought someone new to the CES Food Shelf today and would love to play while I wait. You know we all have gifts. Mine is music that I play to motivate and help others relax.”
Out came Tinman’s guitar and he began to play softly. A noticeable change occurred in the atmosphere as people waited their turn to get groceries.
Tinman grew up in an abusive, violent home with an alcoholic father and mother who beat him, often going hungry. He began drinking at nine, taking speed at 13 and heroin at 17. His life of drugs and violence spun out of control. The military didn’t curb this behavior. Later, before being arrested, he said a prayer to a God he didn’t know, “You have to do something; I don’t want to live this way.” On his way to prison, he heard, “In there I am going to set you free,” which was odd for someone going to prison.
Although fed physically, Tinman became hopeless after receiving a letter from his wife and children saying he was no longer welcome in their lives. Then CHARIS, a prison ministry, invited him to attend a retreat. The result was that he saw the freedom he could have in Christ who understood his pain, guilt, and shame. God set him free of addiction and anger! Upon his release, Tinman went to Make all Things New, a men’s Christian Sober House, eventually finding work in construction.
Clean and sober for 30 years, Tinman has been working at Make All Things New for 20 years helping others like himself. His relationship with his children, 13 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren was restored. “Freedom comes at a price you don’t expect. Although I lost everything, I found freedom and peace.”
“Hungry and without food many times, I understand what it’s like to not have anything but what’s in a car, to wonder where my next meal is coming from, or will I have any food at all. I don’t forget what it is like to be homeless, looking for a safe place.” After Tinman’s injury and other setbacks, he came to CES, a place that offered hope and a way to ease his hunger.
Tinman now brings others to the CES Food Shelf and uses the food shelf when he needs a little extra food. “The Bible says that if you love me (God) you will feed the hungry. I can see that CES is concerned about the hungry and makes sure that all are fed. The food shelf is well stocked and the quality and quantity is great. You know, one never knows when they may get sick, in the hospital, or not able to work and need CES to help with food.”
Yes, CES is here to offer food and hope to Tinman and those he brings!
As CES moved through the cold months of January and February and into March, many had a hard time even getting to CES. One person’s gratitude as they braved the weather.
“I'd like to thank you for helping me to feel very special this month. I got Italian Limonchin Biscuits and Namaste Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix loaded with goodness! I can't get over your inventory, and sometimes I wonder how we can be so lucky! I guess when we depend upon God to provide, He gets us what we really need.
I just went down to CES to talk about my situation. I left fully prepared to weather another week safe and sound behind my door. Thanks again for caring about us. Be well, and hang in there for the longest part of the year.”
Remember those whose simple gratitude is a pizza crust from the CES food shelf.
Thank you for caring for our neighbors with your time, talent and gifts.