The All-New "Families Loving Families"

by Clint Chamberlain

I am excited to inform you about some changes coming regarding the Families Loving Families missional event this year. But first, I want to celebrate the tradition as we currently know it.For the past 27 years on Thanksgiving morning, there have been hundreds of individuals involved in cooking, packing and delivering meals to families in our community. We estimate that 41,400 meals have been cooked and delivered during that time. I could recognize so many different individuals, but I want to give a special shout-out to four specific individuals who really were instrumental in making sure Families Loving Families took place.

The first two people who were instrumental in organizing the menu, logistics and volunteers were Donna Shofner and Carolyn Bailor. They made sure the kitchen was staffed, and the food was ready to go when our church members showed up to pack and deliver meals. Susan Roberts, our current Food Service Director, took over after Donna retired and has placed the food orders, double-checked the menus, recruited the kitchen staff and made sure the meals were cooked and ready to go. Terry Burr, one of our maintenance men, has always made sure the packing line was ready to go on Thanksgiving morning. He collected boxes throughout the year so we would have enough to pack the food, then he was there when the dust settled to tear everything down and get ready for Sunday morning. Donna Shofner, Carolyn Bailor, Susan Roberts and Terry Burr—thank you for your years of giving so others could have a Thanksgiving meal.

We have noticed over the past several years that the meal count for Families Loving Families has gone down. Some of the reasons are that many organizations and schools are now providing Thanksgiving meals. We have also noted that many of the individuals who request meals are not at the address given or are not at home. Lastly, we have become more sensitive to understanding what poverty looks like in our community, and we desire to maintain the dignity of the ones receiving the meal. We don’t want it to feel like a handout for a day.

With this in consideration and some other factors, we are going to attempt a new approach this year for Families Loving Families. We are partnering with three local elementary schools—Hilldale, Western Oaks and Overholser—that are all Title 1 low income schools. This means these kids live at or below the poverty level for Oklahoma and are all on subsidized food programs (the kids eat breakfast and lunch at school and are sent home with backpacks of food on the weekends to assure they are being fed). What this means is that the kids who attend these schools may not be getting the food they need when school is not in session, such as Thanksgiving break. We understand that we can’t feed every family in these schools, but we can do our part to help, so here is the plan:

Families Loving Families Boxes

Council Road will be providing 150 families with enough food for one week (the week of Thanksgiving break). Working with the Regional Food Bank, we created a shopping list using their experience and available food to provide several nutritional meals. We are working closely with the counselors at each of the schools. They will be assisting us in identifying and distributing the Families Loving Families boxes.

This is what we need you to do:

1.     Pray for every family that will be receiving these boxes.

2.     Help us financially offset the cost of the Families Loving Families boxes. The cost is around $35/family, and if you want to sponsor a box, you may do so by writing “food boxes” in the memo line of your check.

3.     Join us on Saturday, November 9, from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the Cube to help pack boxes and get them ready to deliver.

4.     Finally, we will need groups and individuals that are available on Thursday, November 21, and Friday, November 22, to deliver the boxes to the schools so the counselors can distribute them before Thanksgiving break.

Council Road, thank you for making a difference in our community and for being salt and light to a dark world. Watch the bulletin, our Facebook page, the e-newsletter and our website for more information about Families Loving Families boxes.

Author bio

Clint Chamberlain is the Executive Pastor for Outside-the-Walls Ministries at Council Road. He has been on staff for almost 17 years. Clint has a desire to see the church active and to make a difference both locally and globally by living out its mission to be salt and light. He has been married to wife, Deb, for 38 years, has three children and four grandchildren with another on the way. He feels closest to God when he is outdoors and experiences God’s creation first hand.

Clint Chamberlain