Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Loaves and Fishes at Occidental Park

The line stretched around the entire park. The people kept coming. . . .
We purchased enough food for 250 people: hamburgers, hotdogs, watermelon and chips. But, it was quickly obvious that we needed Jesus to show up and multiply our small lunch into a great banquet.

While the bands played and gave the homeless an afternoon of music and a party atmosphere instead of the monotonous day they usually experienced, the smell of BBQ permeated the air and their stomachs rumbled.

The burgers and dogs began to be ready to serve. There were the usual issues in the line over people who didn't wait their turn. There were attempts to take more than one drink. But, for the most part, there were hundreds of appreciative people taking their plate of food to eat with a friend or to fill an empty part of their stomachs.

But, this is just the beginning of what we can do to love those that Jesus loves. We can give value, which is a greater gift than food. We can look them in the eye, ask their name, touch them and listen to their stories. We can sit down and hear their dreams--which for most of them are long forgotten, but possibly for a moment they can remember the glimpse that they carried earlier in their lives, and it can begin to breathe life again.

An hour and a half into the afternoon, we needed way more food. The Bread of Life Mission did a run and got 350 more burgers and dogs. Not too much later, we needed more food. My husband Bill literally became the multiplier of the loaves and fishes. He left his post as overseer of the line (to protect against cutting and rioting) to go and purchase over and over again hot dogs and buns, until the store was down to turkey dogs and bread.

We finished serving at 5:30, after 4 1/2 hours. Just like the loaves and fishes, we actually had some hot dogs left over. It wasn't until we began to add up all the purchases that we realized that in a few hours we had given a meal to eat to the poor and disenfranchised of Seattle approximately 1,000 times.


Being Ekklesia said...

Hey Tamara,

Thank you for sharing your story in the park. It is awesome to see that people are doing something for God. We have a homeless ministry that goes to Love Park in Philadelphia each Monday night. God has blessed us with very interesting stories that have helped shape our hearts and our passion to serve others. Keep up the good work. Never forget that serving God and others is not an obligation - it is a responsibility. We are all called to do it. God bless you.

- Tim

Tamara Buchan said...

HI Tim,

Thank you for your encouragement. It is a gift to serve the homeless because Jesus tells us that when we give food to the hungry and water to the thirsty, we are giving it to him.