I started at the Mission seven years ago as a volunteer and helped answer phones in the office. I spoke with all the people who had missed the community deadline to be adopted for Christmas. All of them were disappointed to hear they had missed the deadline.
I took every name down, in the order they called in, and carefully recorded the ages, genders and sizes of their children and their wish lists. Many of those wish lists were simple items we often take for granted—socks, underwear, a coat for a child who had no coat. I had never seen so much need—so many hungry kids and families. God broke my heart every day for the people we had a chance to adopt and encourage.
I told callers that we would help everyone—as long as donated gifts and food were available. Day after day, I talked with people who were hoping to be adopted for Christmas and every day I saw donations pouring in from our community. On Christmas Eve, after sunset and with most area buildings closed, the last mom pulled up to get the gifts for her family. We loaded her gifts in her car and apologized that the gift one of her sons most wanted hadn’t come in. We substituted something we hoped might be close. At that moment, another family pulled up and said, “Everything is closed. Where do we donate this item for a kid for Christmas?” It was the very item that little boy, in the very last family who called in, had requested. God had abundantly met every need and more. Of course, through tears, we gratefully accepted the donation and immediately sent it home with a very overwhelmed mother, who now had two gifts for her son for Christmas. I knew I wanted to be a part of a team that God was working through like this. I’m grateful God broke my heart for people who are hurting so badly—people with broken hearts who a kind word, encouraging smile and the hope of Jesus’ sacrifice for all means the world to. And I am grateful for our tremendously generous community who share gifts and food this time of year, so everyone can have a gift and a Christmas meal to eat.
We can’t help people without your help—your donations of food and money keep the doors open and hungry people fed. Our staff, who work so hard, covet your prayers—especially this time of year. Last year, partnering with the Christmas Bureau at United Way, our two organizations adopted more than 8300 people for Christmas—8300 people from this community who wouldn’t have had gifts or a warm Christmas meal at home without you. YOUR support helped make that happen.
Recently, our kitchen staff had planned to serve biscuits and gravy for a Wednesday breakfast. They scheduled that meal knowing that we had some of the supplies to serve hundreds of people a hot breakfast and understanding that we still needed more food to get everyone fed. They faithfully prayed, asking God to provide the remaining food in time for the mid-week meal.
The day before biscuits and gravy were on the menu, Westar Energy had their annual “Your Gift, Your Choice” employee giving campaign kickoff, where more than 90 charities are featured, including 19 in Topeka. At the end of the event every year, they generally donate the leftover food to help us feed people here. That Tuesday morning, just as they have for years now, they donated the leftovers and you guessed it—they had served biscuits and gravy! Their donations—combined with the supplies we had on hand—provided exactly what was needed to feed every hungry guest a hot, filling breakfast that next morning.
Through your donations, God has provided so much for the hungry and hurting of this community. We are humbled and grateful; thank you for your support. †
– Mark DeGroff