This weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer and help out with our churches Cardboard box City. It was a new perspective on the weekend, because in past years I have been a participant and this year I was the one helping the weekend go smoothly. It was a different perspective on the weekend.
Let me just give you the run down on the weekend. Saturday I had work from 9a.m. till 2p.m. I packed clothes in a duffle bag to go straight to the church. At around 11:30a.m. my mom texted me asking me what time I got off of work, I told her and she texts back, “Okay well Nunnie and Pappaw are here…” I quickly ran to the bathroom at work and called her. Come to find out that my grandparents wanted to surprise us. Boy was it a surprise! I ended up not getting off till 2:30p.m. and hurried straight to the church with Ashley and my lunch.
I rushed to the church, changed my clothes and the fun began. Teens started coming to set up their boxes which meant sign ins, helping carry boxes and bags to the teens spot, and organizing the canned and boxed food that was donated. Which was one of the things I was super surprised by and didn’t realize. A lot of teens and people donate on this weekend. People who weren’t even involved and with us the whole weekend. People who would just come to mass, or they would go buy food and drive to the church and have a trunk full of cans and boxes, just to drop off! It was amazing because as a teen who participated you don’t actually see how much food was donated, because you are either setting up your “house” or asking people going into mass for money for St. Vincent De Paul.
As the night goes on, the teens are pumped asking for money and they kind of make it a competition to see who can get more money in their cup. It’s actually funny to watch!! After the 5p.m. Mass, Ashley, Denise and I go to count how much the teens have raised in that first hour. It’s impressive how much they raised just for one mass. Nearly one thousand dollars was raised and all I kept thinking was, “Man these teens are awesome!!” After the first mass was over and all the money was counted for the night, the teens got to have some free time and play some large group games, while ashley and I ate our lunches finally.
After a couple of large group games, we had a time of adoration. For those of you who are unsure what adoration is, it is a time where the Eucharist is exposed in a golden monstrance. It was good, they had adoration, confession and Praise and Worship. It was literally the perfect Holy Hour! After the Holy Hour they had about an hour or so do play some games. Some played board and card games, some talked, and some went to play ultimate frisbee with a light up frisbee.
The next day was a long one. They woke up at 6:30am, did morning pray, had breakfast and started collecting money again before the 8am mass. They collected basically from 7:45am-ish till about 1:45. then after collecting for about five and a half hours straight, with little breaks in between, they had lunch and were able to play some games, clean up and have a small talk about the weekend, given by Jake. After the talk, they played a couple games, at 4:15 they all got ready and changed for 5pm mass. They started collecting at 4:30 and went to mass at 5pm. While they were in mass, I sat in Ashley’s office and counted the last of the donated money, added it all together and put the total on the big “check” I had made a couple days ago.
After the 5pm mass was almost done, Ashley grabbed the “check” and gave it to two teens to present to everyone at the 5pm mass. They unrolled the paper and revealed that the teens had raised $4,439.83. Everyone clapped. At the end of the mass, the teens and Ashley took a picture with the “check” and Ashley, Kevin, Melissa and I stayed a bit to clean up and we called it a day.
It was a long exhausting weekend. I saw children come out of mass begging their parents to give them coins or dollars to put in the cups the teens were holding. It was very different then what I had seen participating. It was good to bond with all the teens, even the ones who I had just said I to in confirmation classes, I actually had conversations with them and learned that we have some funny confirmation students. It was good to see what all it takes to bring this weekend together. I don’t think Ashley gets enough credit for what she does. Nobody, at least not the teens, sees what all she does behind the scenes to bring an even like this together. So thanks, Ashley, I don’t know if you’ll read this, but if you do, keep on doing what you are doing!! You are changing lives and turning hearts towards Christ!!
I challenge you to give to the poor. Whether it’s clothes, canned goods, or even a penny. I know by counting the money this weekend that literally every penny counts. The homeless need a lot. If you are in the ATL area, here is a link to the St. Vincent De Paul Society, http://www.svdpatl.org. Check out their website to donate and to find out more information. I pray that you are having a great Lent, we are almost to Easter!! You can do this!!
You are loved! You are great! You are good enough! You are the best you, you can be! You are amazing and awesome!! Keep on being awesome! Keep on being you!! God Bless!!