You just never know how much you do for others can make a difference in their lives. Recently ChristianWorks for Children Development Director Carol Pauley discovered how the many “small” kindnesses extended to families at GriefWorks make a huge impact on their lives, their well being and their futures. GriefWorks (www.grief-works.org) is the free support group ministry for children ages 5-18 and their adult family members at ChristianWorks (www.christian-works.org) .
Carol was standing in the check out line at a local Wal-Mart when the lady in front of her turned around and excitedly announced, “Oh, you’re with GriefWorks! My children and I used to come to sessions there after my husband died.”
The conversation continued with the former GriefWorks parent sharing with Carol just how much GriefWorks had meant to her and her children during one of their lives’ darkest times. “Is Pat Scott still there at GriefWorks?” asked the mom. When Carol assured her that Pat was still leading the GriefWorks adult group, the lady added, “Please tell Pat how much I appreciated what she did for me and my children in those group sessions. I can never thank her enough.”
“And are those dear, sweet volunteers still providing the home-cooked meals to the families before they go into their GriefWorks groups?” she asked Carol. For twelve years generous volunteers have prepared home-cooked meals with truly “comfort food” for the grieving families who attend GriefWorks. A majority of those families are single parent families. It’s hard for a newly widowed parent to come home from a long day at work, cook a meal and then prepare the children to come to GriefWorks.
When Carol assured the GriefWorks mom that those volunteers still provide meals each session without fail, the mother took Carol’s hand and looked into her eyes. “Tell those volunteers ‘Thanks’ from us too. Providing those meals is no small thing. We considered the meal times at GriefWorks ‘holy’.”
Who knew that as they prepared meals for the children and their family members at GriefWorks that what they were providing was considered “holy”? But each meal prepared is just that – holy, sacred. A gift from the heart of a generous volunteer that not only feeds the body, but feeds the spirit, builds community and makes healing possible in the pain and turmoil of grief.
Can you offer a gift of the heart to a grieving child and their family by providing a meal at GriefWorks? You don’t have to be a great chef; you just need a willingness to help families in grief. You don’t have to do meals for every GriefWorks session; you just need to volunteer for the number of times you can spare to help…once a month, once a quarter, or once.
And you don’t have to do it alone; you and your Bible class…or you and your local club or organization….can volunteer to prepare, deliver and serve meals to the GriefWorks children and families. Call Janet Johnston at 972-960-9981 and let her know when and how often you are able to help with the GriefWorks meals. And if you can’t prepare meals, maybe you know someone who can. Share this information with them.
In one small act of kindness for hurting children and their families you can provide a moment when they can break bread together…and to begin to mend broken hearts.
You will be creating for these families a sacred moment to heal.
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40
Written by Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT author of the grief survival guide “Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise” available online at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Love-Never-LPC-S-Larry-Barber/dp/1613796005 ), Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-never-dies-lpc-s-ct-larry-m-barber-ct-larry-m/1104364890?ean=9781613796016).
The grief survival guide is also available in Spanish as “El Amor Nunca Muere: Aceptando el Dolor con Esperanza y Promesa”
Both English and Spanish versions are available for Kindle and Nook. Larry is the director of GriefWorks, a free grief support program for children and their families in Dallas TX http://grief-works.org.