We at The Open Door are entering the new year of 2015 with such excitement, joy and gratitude!
2014 was another big year at The Open Door. We marvel at the many ways that different churches, community groups, businesses and individuals come together to help those in need in our community. We are so thankful for the thousands of people we have been able to help over the past year. What we hear over and over again from those who come in for help is that what moves them the most and gives them such hope is to know that their community loves and cares for them. That they are not alone.
In 2014 we had over 50 different churches provide meals for our community through our Thursday night dinners, Wednesday and Saturday lunches. Thursday dinners alone see 50 plus people with the lunches serving approximately 20 to 30 people. Countless more church and community groups helped us sort our immense clothing donations so that we could distribute free clothing to 100 families per month. We had other church groups donate their time, expertise, talents and supplies to finish our Open Door space and Distribution Room. We had several churches and community groups organize large food drives for us. The food cupboard is a very busy place and serves several famillies six days per week. Several churches came together to enable us to help approximately 200 students with backpacks and school supplies this past September. Three churches held Thanksgiving dinners for our clients. Christmas was another incredible time - over 335 people attended one of our Christmas meals and each person who attended was immensely blessed by the time together with family, community, beautifully catered meals and then also with presents and gift cards to be able to have their in-home Christmas needs met. Of course, all of this was distributed free of charge.
We give thanks for the year that was and are so excited for the year that is coming. We know that God has big plans in store!
And, of course, it wouldn't be The Open Door if we didn't leave you with a story to encourage you. This is one of our favourite stories from 2014.
One of our families who received Back to School help is headed by a widow who is a single mom of six kids. She has always worked very hard to support her children but was injured at work and was waiting for surgery. Things were very tight for this family and mom had no money to pay for extra costs such as backpacks. When this family came in to get their backpacks mom was in tears and the kids were jumping in excitement at the beautiful backpacks. Mom was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from their community and were so thankful that God had provided for their needs.
A few weeks after receiving the backpacks this mom called The Open Door and asked if someone could meet her at the curb to bring in some donations that she had. In the past this mom has dropped off clothing and toys that her children had outgrown so we assumed it was those items. Imagine our great surprise when we get up there and the mom hobbles over to us with some groceries that she had purchased for our food cupboard! She said it was very important to her to give back to say thanks to God and His people for all that they've done for her and her family. It was an incredibly sacrifical donation but one that she really wanted to make.
Meanwhile, another single mom who works so hard had been really struggling to make ends meet. This mom would travel over 40 minutes by bus to get to work for 5am. She had given us a list of food items that she was desperate for. Unfortunately our cupboard was pretty bare and we didn't have a lot of the items. As we started processing the food donated by the first mom we were in tears as we realized that 95% of the second mom's list of needs were sitting right there in that cart! The rest of the food that the mom needed came in from another family who used to need help from The Open Door but are now in a position where they no longer need help and are able to give back.
What a great joy and honour it is to be at The Open Door serving those in need!