They stood there in the empty gymnasium taking one last look around. The crowd was gone and so were the rows and rows of boxes. The gym was starting to look like a place to throw balls again. Just hours earlier, it had been the central hub of activity for hundreds of people focused on a Thanksgiving Day delivery mission. But now, the only ones left were the ladies who agreed to help focus the kindness of so many good people willing to help their fellow man. Standing there in the quiet, their long day almost complete, they had not yet had time to fully appreciate the lives they had touched in such a meaningful way.
It all started months ago when the seven ladies gathered together for the first time to carry on a tradition. They were to become the planners and organizers for the 2012 Thanksgiving Drive at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. They knew the Good Samaritan Network would soon send over the names of 450 families who would rely on OLMC if there was to be any type of Thanksgiving dinner in their home.
But these ladies did not just receive names of people who needed help. They received, literally, human beings, each with a story; our friends and neighbors who rely on us. And so during the weeks leading up to the big day, Parishioners of OLMC were encouraged to shop. A “Turkey Tag” might request the shopper to purchase 12 boxes of brown sugar. Another “Turkey Tag” might beg for 20 cans of green beans. One “Turkey Tag” at a time, enough basic ingredients for a Thanksgiving meal to be proud of, were gathered so that each of the 450 families could celebrate this special holiday and have leftover supplies to last a week. This loving gesture all done in the name of Jesus Christ and as a kick-off to the Year of Faith.
So now, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, turkeys, milk, butter and 32 individual ingredients were carefully boxed and prepared based on the size of the family they would be given to. Even the pan to cook the turkey and the cranberry stuff was included. With military precision, hundreds of OLMC families began to gather to learn where they would be sent in Hamilton County to “Do unto others.”
I share this with you not to name names or give congratulations. Instead, I am in awe at the power of love. I wish for more of it.