It was the worst of days. It was the best of days. Forgive my abuse of a well-known Charles Dickens quote, but it quickly came to mind as I reflected on yesterday’s Thanksgiving dinner at Crawford Elementary School.
The “worst” part obviously relates to yesterday’s weather. I do not remember the last time we had freezing rain in Denver, but we had it pretty much all day yesterday – not exactly the kind of weather you want when most of the people invited to yesterday’s dinner do not drive. Still, about 175 of our neighbors braved the miserable weather and were rewarded with a delicious Thanksgiving feast courtesy of the many people who prepared our food and volunteers who served our guests at the school. (Click on this link to see all our photos from yesterday’s dinner.)
Needless to say, when you are trying to prepare food for almost 900 people and less than 200 show up, you are going to have a considerable amount of leftovers. Of course, our awesome team of 100+ volunteers were invited to enjoy a meal with our guests when they were not serving, which was part of the original plan. Our guests were also invited to take food home and we had a couple small groups of about 30 people each that had made requests for leftovers, which we were happy to satisfy. But we still had a huge amount of leftovers looking for someone to bless.
This is where God’s plans took precedence over our plans, and it became an even better day. On cold weather days, when the temperature is expected to drop below 20 degrees, the homeless day shelter about 2 miles away opens for the night for more than 100 homeless men and women. So when I drove over to see if they would like to serve a Thanksgiving dinner to their guests for the evening, I was greeted with an enthusiastic, “absolutely!”. About 45 minutes later we delivered 4 car loads of Thanksgiving dinner to the shelter, and left wondering if this was God’s plan all along.
I confess I was initially pretty disappointed as I drove to the school in the freezing rain and contemplated how the weather would affect our turnout. Most of that faded away as the school’s cafeteria filled with the smiling faces of volunteers eager to serve and guests thankful for a delicious meal. But the real bonus came when we were able to bless more than 100 homeless people. This would not have happened if the weather had been great since we would have had a lot less food and the homeless shelter would not have been open.
We thank God that He had a better plan and for all the cooks and volunteers who partnered with us in making it a great day. And, yay! – The school has already invited us back to do it again next year :-).
Colorado Gives Day helps ROP hold events like yesterday’s Thanksgiving Dinner. Click on the “donate now” button to schedule a donation to ROP on the CGD website. Make sure to check “CO Gives Day” under “Donation Frequency”.