By Chris Meehan
Some community members brightened the Thanksgiving celebrations of an Allendale family late last month.
On the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving, Kathleen Mehaffey and Ben Reinhardt brought a basket to the home of a family with four children. The basket contained a 14-pound turkey, dressing, potatoes, vegetables and dessert.
The father of the family answered the door, and shook their hands vigorously as he accepted the food. “Oh, wow,” he said. “The kids will be so happy. I can’t wait to tell them in the morning. They’ve been asking for turkey, but it’s been several years since we could afford one.”
The mother told them that she had been planning to buy a ham the next morning—all the family could afford.
“This makes my day,” the father added, laughing. “I was getting tired of ham!”
The basket came from Shreveport branch member Gwen Stuart. Gwen had been helping with a Thanksgiving-week food giveaway at the church where she works. The supervisor of the giveaway had given Gwen two food baskets to deliver to needy families. Gwen was unable to make contact with one family, despite repeated phone calls and knocks on their door. The supervisor asked Gwen if she knew anyone else who could use the meal. “I’m sure I can find someone,” Gwen replied, thinking of the community’s outreach in Allendale. On Tuesday, she dropped off the basket at the Allendale home of Ron and Ruthanne Seitz.
The basket migrated from the Seitzes to the single women’s house headed by Kathleen. Over dinner, the women brainstormed the names of families who might benefit from the basket, and eventually settled on the family with four children. Some of the children had come to the community’s summer camp, but the women wanted to get to know the parents better.
“I think the Lord was being very specific in his care for those neighbors,” says Kathleen. “We didn’t have reason to believe that they were any worse off than all the other poor families who live in our neighborhood, but the Holy Spirit prompted us, so we took the food to them.”