When I started going to the park, before there was Mosaic Street Ministry and our Sunday dinners in the park…there was just me and my bag of sandwiches. Giving to anyone who was hungry and listening to anyone who wanted to talk. The guys I spoke with would ask what my name was and when I responded with “Denie” I would get the tilt of the head and the same response “It’s what and how do you say that?” So over time I become known as the sandwich lady. When I pulled up in my truck each week you could hear someone holler the “Sandwich lady is here.”
Flash forward eight years and now people know my name and we no longer just serve sandwiches. With the help from wonderful people we are now able to serve a full meal to anyone in need each Sunday. It is funny how sometimes things go full circle. Two months ago I was offered the job of taking over our deli at the hospital. After spending five years downstairs in the cafeteria, I decided I needed a change and working on that floor would be a new experience. The floor is our heart unit, ICU, etc. so there is a lot emotions going on daily with staff and family of patients. I love it there, but there is a lot of heart break that comes along with the job.
People wander in and a lot of times it is not for something to eat. Staff and family members a like sometimes need someone to talk too, they pour their hearts out, some cry and my heart breaks for each one of them. I can’t change things I tell them, but I will help with whatever I can and I will lift them up and their loved ones in prayer. I also find there are many people in need. Our ministries main focus is on the homeless, but there are many in our community that are in need. I find many who have good jobs and care for others everyday carry a heavy burden of trying to provide for their own families. Just because someone has a good job, does not mean they don’t have needs as well. I don’t know why they are in the situation, I just listen and when I feel like God is telling me to help, I offer to help with what we can. These people aren’t out on the streets for all to see their needs, they suffer silently in the shadows hiding their troubles from the world and for some unknown reason they feel the need to share with me.
So as I got off the elevator this morning and headed down the quiet hallway to the deli. I turned the corner and this booming voice yells “Hurray the sandwich lady is here.” I quietly told him I wasn’t open yet and he told he wasn’t wanting anything to eat, just wanted to share his news about his family member. I listened, then walked to the deli, locked the door behind me and as I stood there alone in the silence I had to smile….once again I am “the Sandwich Lady” and that’s okay. This sandwich lady will silently drop off food boxes, extend a shoulder to cry on, give a hug when there is nothing I can do, but most of all show them that they are not alone, listen when no one else will and truly show them that someone cares.
So when you give to our ministry, I want you to know that you are not just providing for our friends on the streets, but you are also providing for many more in our community that are hiding in the shadows. The next time you find yourself being taken care of, remember the person helping maybe in need of help as well.