A Man Named Lonnie

November:  Sharing Goodness

“For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”  Psalms 107:9 (KJV)

Once upon a time in my hometown, a gentleman (let’s call him Mr. Williams) and his wife were in their golden years, ready to sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labors.  They owned a business in the downtown area and knew about a homeless man named Lonnie who lived on the streets and ate from city garbage cans.  One day they realized that Lonnie had not been seen in some time; they learned that he had been found dead near the railroad tracks, having died alone with an empty stomach.  Mr. Williams decided this type of situation should never happen again….and so he decided to do something about it!  He opened a place where hungry people could eat—The Daily Bread Community Kitchen.  In the 18 years since the doors first opened, The Daily Bread has served the needy in my community consistently and faithfully.  The kitchen has no barrier to race, creed or color—if you are hungry, you can eat.  No one is turned away.  On several occasions I have stopped at The Daily Bread to deliver a monetary donation, and I am always invited to “come in sometime soon and eat with us.”  There are now about 150 volunteers from all faiths and walks of life who help serve the area.  From this initial ministry, other ministries have been born, including one called Food on Foot.  One of the really amazing aspects of The Daily Bread is that it operates without government funding and relies strictly on donations.  When circumstances are dire, our local radio stations announce that donations are needed, and the public always generously responds.

Goodness is about as difficult a word to define as Love.  But for me, Mr. Williams and The Daily Bread are goodness personified.  And Mr. Williams does not hesitate to give God the glory for His provision (goodness) and strength that enables him and his wife to do all they do.  Likewise, Mr. Williams does not hesitate to share that goodness with those less fortunate.  In 2011, in his early 80’s, Mr. Williams traveled to Washington, DC to receive the highest award that the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) can bestow on an individual—The National Community Service Award….all because of a man named Lonnie.

We live in a world surrounded by needy people.  Recent natural disasters show us just how much people are in need—of even the most basic necessities.  As we approach the Thanksgiving season, we tend to think about the goodness of God and about sharing that goodness with others.  But it really isn’t a “seasonal” thing — we should think about it every day.  And remember that sometimes sharing may require a sacrifice on our part.  Am I willing to sacrifice?  Are you?

(c) 2012 Leslie O. Kelley

Learn more about Food on Foot at www.tnfoodonfoot.com

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