It was a very merry Christmas at West Raleigh this year! Working together with the Presbyterian Women, with extra guidance from Catherine Meynardie, the Feeding Ministry was able to share 23 stockings with our Lunch Guests this Christmas! The stockings held a warm winter hat, gloves, socks, and a wooden star ornament. Additionally, a Christmas candy bag, and a meal token for A Place at the Table was shared.
Emma Kate, Mary Hall, Carol House and Kate Stryker decorated the stars in the children’s Christian Formation class. The stars then had a QR code affixed to the backside. The QR code was created by Anna, who turned it into a sticker. The QR code took Guests to a page on the WRPC website listing current resources and supports for the food and housing insecure that are walkable from WRPC.
To create this list of active resources, Kitty Kesler reviewed many pages of Wake County supportive services to ascertain which were walkable from West Raleigh. Then, she contacted each of those to learn which were still operating, what their hours and days of availability were, and what they offered. Anna then created the resources page on our WRPC website. A poster was made and posted about the QR codes and announcing we were open on both Christmas and New Year’s Day for lunch.
Many stockings were stuffed during Simple Gifts. After an extra gloves shopping run by Bob Grant, a work session led by Larry Asbill and Jody Brammer checked each filled stocking, filled the remaining stockings and made up the candy bags.
As buses were not running on Christmas, it was decided to start sharing Christmas stockings on Friday 22 December. On Christmas Day, Kitty and Gene Kesler served Bag Lunch together with Larry and Jody, and shared a stocking with each Guest. The impact of their Fellowship and Service was brought home on New Year’s Day when Guests shared their Christmas and New Year’s Eve experiences.
Two Christmas guests chose to come to West Raleigh despite knowing about the all you can eat hot lunch served at Moore Square. One guest shared that he walked for miles to come to West Raleigh for Christmas lunch after being imprisoned for 15 years, 8 of those years in solitary confinement. He avoided crowds to stay safe and out of trouble. Another Guest with limited mobility and a transplant recipient, was also unable to get to Moore Square. He, too, shared that he avoided events where he wasn’t assured of a seat. These two men were 50% of a small number of Christmas Lunch Guests. Although we might think we were only serving four people on Christmas Day, to those 4 guests it meant the world to be met with Fellowship, a fresh tasty meal, and a loving and helpful gift.
It is brought home to us again and again how this ministry of fellowship and sustenance is so important to each person we welcome. West Raleigh’s heart shines at the Bag Lunch door. Thank you, each, for all you have done for so very many years to make this year’s Christmas season a gift in so many ways for each Visitor we welcome.
We invite you to join us in sharing Fellowship and Food by volunteering to Serve Bag Lunch. Sign up is easy and we are happy to volunteer together with those new to Bag Lunch!