Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hope is needed

Our Saturday began and ended with the word hope and in between was a lot of chicken wrangling. The girls have joined a service organization at school. Out of all the clubs and groups they could join at school, for them to pick a service oriented one, makes me so proud. Anyway, they had signed up to volunteer Saturday morning and when that alarm went off at 6:00 am, I was pretty sure someone was playing a mean trick on me.

Our day had a long list of things that had to get done - chores, errands, and a chicken rescue.

A friend of my niece's had moved and needed a new home for her 6 chickens. Annabel was skeptical, but after looking them over, gave her approval. We went back, with Dad's pick up and our largest dog crate in the back. When we got there, the chickens were out free ranging, rather than in their chicken yard. Trying to catch a chicken, even in a small space, takes a lot of work, but thankfully, Annabel, dressed in shorts, t shirt, ball cap on backward, and my size 10 rain boots on her size 5 feet, was smart enough to wrangle them back into the chicken yard. What happened next is all owed to her skill, speed, and determination, as she wrangled each chicken, in spite of the chickens' heroic attempts otherwise.

The chickens are not convinced they like their new home and have stayed huddled in the back of the yard. It is recommended that you keep new chickens separated from your flock for at least 2 weeks, to ensure they do not transmit any diseases and also because the pecking order will be disturbed. In the meantime, our chickens are not pleased at their inability to free range and are very vocal about it. Last night when I went to check on them, the new chicks had not been able to figure out where they were supposed to roost and were still huddled in the back corner of the yard. We set up a borrowed coop and Annabel, the chicken wrangler, was at it again, only this time, some took flight and escaped to Mom and Dad's yard. Because it was dark, it was really difficult to even see them, but Annabel is extremely determined and kept on until she rescued the last one. When I went back to check on them, one had slipped through a spot in the coop and was so distressed that I thought I could open the door and grab it, like Annabel, only it got out and somewhere there is an errant chicken. We had a huge storm last night and I am not sure what to expect this morning.

In between all the chicken wrangling, our department at work had been invited to have a display at the Festival of Hope - celebrating an outreach ministry in the area. While I was there, I visited the other exhibits and was surprised to find one I did not know existed, practically in my backyard. Promise House - the only Dallas shelter for homeless and at risk teens. The young man with the organization was so inspiring and motivated to help these kids. I am so glad to learn of this group and the vast services they provide to so many. If you are in the area and want to help, they have a wish list on their website.

The day started at the Cathedral of Hope, where the girls had volunteered to serve breakfast to the homeless and needy. As we arrived, we saw a really long line of people, patiently waiting to get in. Annabel said I could just drop them off there, but there was no way that was going to happen. We parked and I went in too. After hearing what was expected and surprised that their teacher sponsor or any other parent of the kids was there, I knew I had to stay. The regular volunteers gave us a quick orientation and set the tone, that we were there to serve. The two hours flew by as there was a non-stop need and line for those waiting to be served.

What surprised me the most were the number of average, clean cut looking people who were there for a free breakfast. These people looked like neighbors, friends, family, they did not fit my idea of the "needy". I was shocked, especially when it was a family. The man I was serving with explained that by the 4th Saturday, that most had run out of food stamps and had nothing left and would not get the next ones until the first of the month.  I had visited the North Texas Food Bank this week and the guide had told us that very thing - so many times it is impossible to know that someone is in need by looking at them but those who have been able to find the resources, like Cathedral of Hope, the North Texas Food Bank, Promise House, have a chance.

I'm still processing what all of this means. At this age, I should not be surprised when I learn something new, but you would really think I would have known/realized just how overwhelming the needs are for so many in our area. Instead of just ruminating about it, I hope I can find ways to provide hope for others, like the amazing people I met today, who do this all the time.

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