January 2013 016

As I began to move stuff around in the basement prepping for 2014 Easter Basket Collection, I thought I’d share why we are smitten with this project.  Many wonder what drives us to make Easter baskets…and that, my friends, takes us back to the beginning.

It was late February of 2005 and we were contemplating what our next service project would be.  FBF was founded on the idea of believers coming together from all denominations to discuss and study His Word, to fellowship, and to put their faith into action by helping others.  Our first outreach had really surprised us, and we were eager to reach out and help again.

As we thought and prayed, the next holiday popped into our mind–Easter.  Ah, yes, we wanted to do something to honor Christ with our hands, feet and hearts because Easter is what believing is truly all about!

Looking around our homes, we realized that each of us had extra Easter baskets in our basements.  We began to wonder if maybe there was a need for Easter baskets for families struggling financially.  Realizing that there had to be other moms like us out there who would love to send their child’s extra stuffed animals, toys and books off to another, we contacted South Lyon’s local food pantry, Active Faith, to ask about making baskets for those in need in our community.

As I spoke to the director at that time, Carol, I asked if anyone–churches or businesses–helped their clients with Easter baskets at Easter time.  It turned out that no one had ever thought to, but she was sure they would be thrilled to have the help.  I asked her to look over their files and see how many kids they might serve.  A few days she called me back.  “Michelle, you are not going to believe this, but we could see potentially 400 children this Easter!”

Well, honestly, that was a tad bit overwhelming!  Our little group had imagined 35-40 baskets (and thought that would be a lot!), but 400…the first words out of my mouth were “Carol, I can’t promise anything…” followed by a bit of a pause…”but we can pray and you can pray, and we will see what God does.”  From there, we began to pray harder.  And thinking of the potential number,  we realized we might need some help.  So we put a little blurp in the community calendar section of the Herald and shared information about what we were doing with other organizations and churches.

St. Joe's March 11th 2013 042Sure enough, come distribution day, we had more than enough to cover their needs.  The excess is what led us out of South Lyon…needing to find homes for what wasn’t needed locally.  And while all those answers to our prayers were invigorating and exciting, it is not what drives us today.

It was an answer to a prayer that still humbles us…

And so, as we stood in the food pantry that evening passing out Easter baskets, there was a lull.  It was close to closing time, and a young mom, with two small children in tow, came through the doors.  To help you see a visual, the food pantry was laid out like a course where a volunteer helped the recipient pick out their food choices.  At the end, after they had shopped, stood our Easter baskets.  We were blessed to be asked to help give them out.  From where we stood, we could see the whole process.

There she stood, at the beginning, with her eyes transfixed on the baskets.  The volunteer could barely keep her attention.  Because it was a small place, we could see and hear the whole process.  Her two children had been shuffled off to a reading room not too far away, and eventually, she arrived at our first volunteer who had been instructed to ask her if she needed baskets and for what ages and gender.  As she gave the information, she interrupted with the question, “Who has done this?”  Because it was and is a community effort, our volunteer was instructed to say just that…not identifying FBF or any one group.

That wasn’t a sufficient answer for her and she became determined to know who had done this.  Beleaguered, the volunteer finally sent her to me as I stood at the end of the baskets.  I politely and kindly explained again that it was a community-wide effort and was there something I could help her with?  She shared that she really wanted to express her gratitude in a thank you card and needed that information.  I directed her to send it to Active Faith and that they would pass it along.  While this seemed to satisfy her, she asked me and the volunteer next to me if we could watch her cart of food while she hid the baskets in the trunk of her car so that her kids would not see them.  We smiled broadly and answered, “Absolutely!  Take your time; we understand!”

A few minutes later she returned.  Instead of getting her cart, she approached the two of us and what she said has driven this outreach ever since…you see, we thought we were honoring Him with what we were doing, but humbly we found out He was honoring us in allowing us to be a part of He was doing…

March 8th 2013 023It was the first time she had ever been to a food pantry in her life.  It was the worst year in their life.  She had been struggling for months to make ends meet, and about 6 weeks before that moment, she had started to realize that they would not likely be able to afford Easter baskets for their kids.  She tried to scrimp and save but no matter how hard she tried, there was just no money.  About two weeks before that night, she had to accept–after looking at her check book–that there was no way they would have baskets, and she prayed asking God to somehow, some way help with Easter baskets.  Nightly, she laid awake fretting over the sight of her two children on Easter morning with nothing for them to open or find.  Then her mind raced to the first day back to school after Easter vacation when their kids would hear other children talking of what the Easter bunny had brought them.  She feared and agonized over the shame and disappointment that would fall upon their hearts realizing they had somehow been left out.

From the depth of her soul, she just wanted to say thank you.  “Thank you for being an answer to a prayer!”

And I stood there, we stood there, with tears brimming in our eyes trying to stay composed but utterly touched to the core by her story.  While we had hoped to help others, never once did I imagine that we would actually see God move in such a powerful way…answering prayers through this outreach.  Her words, her awe that she had walked into that room–that food pantry for the first time–and there sat Easter baskets for her children…

that He had answered her prayers…

…and ours…

Those memories are what drive us onward, understanding and trusting that God is often doing something so much more amazing than we can comprehend…

Please join us in praying that His will be done through FBF and willing hands, feet and hearts this Easter 2014.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”  Galatians 6:9-10

Leave a Reply