You may recall my previous blog post about the meat & cheese acquisition debacle. Well now it's time to share how it all turned out!
The support of my workplace in contributing to offset our costs was incredibly heartening, uplifting, and encouraging: we had a God-sized dream to pull this off at our reception, and God showed up (via coworkers wandering by my desk and throwing money at me) to help make it happen. I just need to share how incredible this is: I started with a $1,473 out-of-pocket expense for the meat and cheese; $250 was covered by a grant from Thrivent Financial, and now to date, I've received an additional $1,045 from co-workers and friends to help offset the cost, leaving my out-of-pocket at a mere $178. That, to me, is a "wow" moment.
I shared something related to this in my last post that I think is worth sharing again:
I've had three separate people offer me donations today because of my FB post. I've teared up each time.
I'm sharing this with you to say, *we* *are* supported. The unlikeliest people (well, and some likely ones, too) are stepping up and offering suggestions, tangible help, and even money, to help us do our sandwich making service project. And the ones who can't help (a few of the nonprofits/businesses I've called asking for donations) still say "what a neat and cool idea" to do instead of a dance.
Also, this is a practical lesson for me about what my Jesus Calling devotional has been talking about today and the past couple days: relying on God, rather than my own abilities. The idea of shelling out an un-budgeted $2000+ to make the sandwiches happen, was a bit overwhelming to me. Now money and help are coming out of the woodwork. God is providing. God is teaching me that God provides. God is teaching me that God works through people I wouldn't have expected God to work through. And it is beautiful.
At our reception a week and a half ago, the service project got off to a slightly bumpy start, largely due to my not-fully-thought-through logistics of distributing aprons and gloves. But once people got going, they really got going! We made over 3200 sandwiches in less than an hour, and everyone (at least seemingly) truly enjoyed the project. I and my family heard innumerable unsolicited comments about how much fun people had had, and how meaningful it was that Alissa and I would choose to spend our special wedding day focused on serving others.
In addition to the sandwich project, we purchased 300 MATTERboxes - boxes full of non-perishable foodstuff - and invited every guest to take one or more to then hand out to panhandlers they might encounter. This had the unintended, but wonderful, side-effect of sparking conversations among the church staff about considering a similar gift for their parishioners. As well, we hope by both the MATTERboxes and sandwich project, that we have not only encouraged our guests to consider the "outsider," the less fortunate, the outcast whom Jesus loves, but also pointed them toward God and a heart of service beyond just our wedding day.