When 4,800 lbs. of food arrived at our campus last week, we were ecstatic. But we were also wondering – how in the world are we going to move all this stuff?

We often get large donations from Feeding America and other locations for our Food Center. Serving hundreds of families each month, this is a necessity if we are to keep the shelves stocked with healthy food for our neighbors!

Heidi Vanderlaan, Operations Coordinator at Streams of Hope, was helping facilitate the food drop-off.

“Wednesday afternoon our truck arrived at Streams of Hope after picking up 4,800 lbs. of food from Feeding America,” shares Heidi. “1,800 lbs. of that food was frozen meat in banana boxes.” This was a great gift, but it also meant that it would take many hands to lift the cumbersome boxes into storage. And it needed to be kept cool, so the move had to be quick!

“We noticed Paula Guikema was outside with some of her middle school students and asked them if they would be willing to help us unload the truck and put the food in the freezer and cooler,” Heidi said. “The kids were more than willing to help us out and had the job completed in less than a half hour.  Another act of kindness by our youth that was greatly appreciated!”

Not only was the students’ help a great act of service for the Food Center, but it also encourages them to continue serving in their everyday lives.

“It’s amazing how quick a job can be accomplished when you have several people helping,” shares Paula Guikema, Program Coordinator at our campus. “You can feel free to ask [me and the students] for help anytime we’re around.”

Paula recognizes the need for instilling values of selflessness into the youth at our campus.

“We feel it is very important for our kids to learn how to give back to our community. We frequently remind them that our [after-school program] snacks come from the Food Center,” she says.

To that end, the summer program for teens hosted a “Kindness Matters” day over the summer.

“Our Teen Program held a free car wash to promote kindness in us and for our community,” says Paula. “One woman was shocked that we weren’t charging anything or raising money for something. She was so moved by this small act of kindness that she came back with popsicles for all. What a lesson for the kids that kindness breeds kindness.”

So next time you see our youth on campus, make sure to give them a high-five and a thank-you for a job well done. It’s a team effort here, and we believe there is truly somewhere for everyone to get involved. We also want to thank our leaders who don’t just facilitate programs, but truly desire to invest in students and plant life-long seeds of virtue in them. Now that’s something to celebrate!

To get involved with the youth program or the Food Center at our campus, apply on our volunteer page.