I don't cry easily. But yesterday, I found myself stopping a number of times to dry my eyes. And this morning, I am still crying as I think about it. Because at 1:30 they started coming. By 3:30, they were lined out into our parking lot. By 4:30, there was not ONE empty parking place, and volunteers were parking people 2-deep on the grass.
We were prepared to hand out 400 backpacks of school supplies. We had NO idea what to expect. We were prepared to hand out another 100 "rainchecks." Well, we ended up giving out 272 rainchecks. We had bought 1,000 hotdogs, already having a plan B as to what we would do with the leftovers. Not one hotdog was left. Around 200 haircuts were given, with 6 incredible volunteers working NON-STOP for over three hours. Richard, a local hair stylist, cut 50 himself!
I couldn't tell who were the happiest -- the families being helped or our volunteers who were finding out the truth of how it is more blessed to give than to receive. The volunteers were INCREDIBLE -- around 130 strong. I have never experienced an atmosphere like that! The Spirit of Jesus was definitely evidenced (I'm crying right now as I write this).
I would estimate that over 800 people came to us yesterday (Jacob says he thinks there were 1,000). And while I am glad we were able to help, I cry for our county. We have a lot of wealth in Wise county. But there is SO MUCH poverty. 1/3rd of our county's residence come to WARM for assistance every year -- over 20,000 different individuals.
I am sure I will hear many moving stories about things that happened yesterday. But so far, this one has touched me the most. Donna Moon saw a cute little girl, about 6 or so, eating a hot dog. This was about 6 PM. Donna asked her how she was enjoying the day. She smiled and said it was really good. And then she said that the hotdog was the first food she had all day. That breaks my heart!
I can't wait until next year!
LATE NOTE: We preachers are often accused of "preacher counts" -- over-inflating numbers. But I am being told by many who were here yesterday that they would estimate the number were more like 1,200-1,500!