An update on the “Turkeys of Thanks” campaign that I began Talking Turkey back in September.
I stood in front of my congregation today, six weeks after we began, feeling my eyes moisten with tears as I announced that we were well over the $4,000 mark in our Turkey of Thanks campaign. We are no longer worried about having enough money…from here on out, all we continue to collect further adds to how abundant we can be for those with whom we serve. The parish hall bulletin board and our virtual website campaign page are filled with expressions of thanks, each of which accompanied donations from the heart and soul. These hand-written notes on card stock turkeys reflect a community’s willingness to give generously and abundantly to supply Thanksgiving for 350 households of those who receive support from our food pantry. These notes are the palpable blessings of abundance in our community.
Let me recap. I am not a fund-raiser. In fact, I will pretty much do anything to avoid asking anyone for money. Yet, I felt a pull in my soul to say a Divine Yes to raising funds for these turkeys because food pantry ministry has found its way into my soul. My heart, and soul and lips volunteered myself to do this, while every fiber of my logical self said, ARE YOU CRAZY????
I said a “Divine Yes” anyhow.
This blog…small points of light…is about seeing the God in the ordinary, and taking in the power of those daily encounters to transform our lives. Let me describe just a few of those moments that have transformed me and filled my days to overflowing with gratitude ever since I said that “Yes”…
1) my personal friends, past and present, adding their $20 turkey donations and conveying the thankfulness in their lives which made me thankful vicariously for our many blessings;
2) opening an email during a stressful work meeting to find that a donation of $1,000 with a note of “50 turkeys!” had been received that day. Joy overtook my soul;
3) accepting with gracious thanks and equal joy the donated dollars of clients from the food pantry to give back and support our community;
4) the woman who stopped her car while driving upon seeing our food pantry in full distribution to give us all the money in her wallet as a serendipitous offering;
5) the envelope of cash winnings from a 50/50 split at the church auction that were handed to me today as “turkey cash” and a gift back;
6) the notes from friends of friends from all around the country compelled to make a PayPal gift to this cause;
7) the parishioners who quietly slip cash and checks in the turkey of thanks bank each week. Multiple weeks. Every week.
8) the way people smile while wearing the “Turkey of Thanks” hat. You cannot not smile with a stuffed roast turkey on your head, or turkey feet tied beneath your chin and this, too, is God in our midst;
9) the cash pressed into my hand by an elder parishioner with the request, “write a note on one of those turkeys that I’m thankful for my wonderful husband…who would tell me not to single him out, but I want to anyhow!”
10) the gratitude written by multiple parishioners on their Turkeys of Thanks for their freedom to marry the beloved people in their lives thanks to legalization of same sex marriage in Virginia;
11) the youth leader who asked me today if she could gather her friends from school to help us distribute turkeys;
12) the growing knowledge in my soul that answering a call to service with a “Divine Yes” is not something to be feared…it is an act of faithful confidence in the abundance of God’s love and grace.
You cannot be prepared for that grace. You will be overwhelmed and transformed by it, as I have been.
As we say and pray in the pantry:
God is Good. All the Time.
All the Time. God is Good.
Turkeys of Thanks. Small Points of Light.