UFO’s Feed The Hungry

Have you ever had a thought that popped into your head and just wouldn’t go away?  And has that thought been something that was calling you to do something big; something way out of your comfort zone?  Was it something that seemed quite impossible to do, but just kept nagging at you?  If that has ever happened to you, I want you to take it seriously.  As much as you want to dismiss it because of it’s impossibility, I want you to stop and pray.  REALLY think about it.  It could be God calling you to do something that He specifically is asking you to do; something to help heal this broken world, something that He knows only you can do in this very moment, right here and now.  His timing, not yours.

It’s happened to me a few times and like you, I was very quick to resist.  I immediately go to; “Oh, I could never pull that off.  My family would really think I’m off my rocker.  I have no clue how I could ever do that.”  Here’s my favorite excuse; “I’m scared.”

One of my favorite authors is Trevor Hudson.  I was privileged to hear him speak one summer and he talked specifically about this exact thing; how to know if God is speaking to you.  Trevor mentions those feelings that we have when these thoughts come to us that just won’t leave us.  According to Trevor, those thoughts which always point us to light and we just know deep down that it’s a good thing; that could be God talking to us.  In the Bible, when God calls on his followers to do something, God is always met with immediate resistance.  Always, always in the Bible when God calls someone to do His work, there is resistance.  When these ideas come to us now, we don’t first go to thoughts of, “Wow, that will be easy!  Watch me pull this off!”.  Nope, we go into resistance mode.  Moses is a perfect example of this; Moses immediately give a variety of excuses as to why he can’t do what God is asking him to do.  “What will I tell them?  Who should I say sent me?, etc..”  Moses has all sorts of excuses not to challenge Pharaoh in letting the Israelites go.  Moses saw no way of accomplishing this impossible endeavor on his own.  And God’s answer is, “Where do you think I will be?”

So who do we think will be there right beside us when God is calling us to do, what seems like the impossible?  Are we really alone?  If God is calling me to do something good for the world and He has specifically chosen me, isn’t He going to be walking right along side me giving me the resources and support that I need to get it done?  Doesn’t it just boil down to good old fashion faith?  Do we need to have all the answers when we start the journey?  Most definitely not!

I’ve see this happen in my own life, but I want to share with you another real-life example that is making a tangible difference in the life of families in my community.

One of my dear friends is an elementary school teacher.  Margaret was born a teacher.  She wasn’t always a teacher, but because she has a real gift for learning and huge heart for children, she eventually made her way to education and she is now living out what God has called her to do; teach our young children to love learning and to be great citizens.  It’s important that you know a little bit about Margaret’s personality.  She’s not a big risk taker.  Margaret is a woman of humility and she’s very uncomfortable putting herself out there.  So here’s this beautiful soul who has one of those God thoughts pop into her head; the one that just won’t let her go.

Margaret is noticing that many of her students are showing up to school hungry.  And I’m sure you know that when children are hungry, it makes it very difficult for them to learn.  This “God thought” keeps nagging at her; how am I going to feed these children so they are prepared to learn?  There are so many and I am just one person.  Margaret had no idea how any of this was going to be accomplished, but she knew she had to do something about their hunger.  So she decided to meet with the mission coordinator at her church and share her vision.  Together they came up with an idea to provide snacks to teachers so they could hand them out to students.  Soon the idea blossomed into a food bag program that provides weekend meals for all students in need at her school, not just those in her classroom.  Let’s fast forward to today; the UFO (You Feed Others) program now not only provides weekend backpack meals for hundreds of students in her elementary school each month, it has expanded to 2 other neighboring elementary schools as well.  Sunday school classes, women’s circles, other members at her church, scout groups, sports teams and local companies all pitch in to purchase supplies, assemble and deliver over 900 UFO’s each month to elementary schools in a county that is considered one of the wealthiest in our nation.  Yes, in my “wealthy” county there are hungry children right in my own back yard.  Most likely there are hungry children in your own back yard too.

If you or a group of friends would like to start your own program to help feed hungry children in your own community, here are the specifics that go into each UFO pack:

One Gallon size zip-lock plastic bag filled with:

  • 2 breakfasts (granola bars, oatmeal, small cereal box, etc)
  • 2 lunches (cheese/crackers, cup of soup, peanut butter crackers, etc)
  • 2 dinners (easy mac-n-cheese, individual beef ravioli, tuna, etc)
  • 2-3 snacks (applesauce, pudding, fruit cup, fruit snacks, etc)
  • 1 juice box (100% fruit juice box or a milk box)

Here’s one of my own personal examples of taking that “leap of faith” and actually following through on one of those God moments.  I wrote an article about Margaret and the UFO program for my company’s newsletter.  As I wrote the words, a crazy idea popped into my head.  I offered to collect any UFO’s that co-workers were willing to assemble and ensure that they get to the hungry children in our community.  It may seem small to you, but for me my first thought was failure.  I already personally support the UFO program, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up that anyone at work would actually participate as well.  Just offering to collect UFO’s from staff also has me scared, wondering what folks think of me; are they rolling their eyeballs at me, or maybe worse…not even reading my article?  But the idea just wouldn’t leave me and I knew that if I put it out there, it may make a difference to some hungry children in my own back yard.  I’m going to walk in faith and trust that God is planting those mustard seeds out there, even when I doubt.

So whenever I get one of those crazy thoughts that are way out of my comfort zone, but something that just feels right and continues to inspire me to act, I think of Margaret and how she has inspired me to “think big”.  I hope you really stop, pray and think when you experience those wonderful, amazing, impossible ideas that pop into your head.  Please take them seriously.  You don’t have to have all the answers to start the journey.  Share your idea, ask folks to walk along side you and watch a miracle happen.  If it happened to Margaret, it can happen to you too.

Help Us Be Nice, Amen!

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