A thousand extra miles
by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we have amazing people who volunteer with HPCCR. When we need people to help out, they step up. And sometimes they go the extra mile. Or better yet. Sometimes they go a thousand extra miles.
Like Shauntel. Shauntel lost her father a few years ago. Before he died, though, he was under hospice care. Shauntel told me that her family’s experience with hospice was amazing; they felt overwhelmingly loved and supported.
So four years ago, she decided to give back. She volunteered to help hospice families over Thanksgiving by taking them a meal. That first Thanksgiving without her dad was incredibly hard but being able to do something meaningful for families whose journey she intimately understood was truly a rewarding gift. She has continued this tradition, bringing joy every Thanksgiving to some very deserving families.
This year, Shauntel was assigned to bring a meal for Mrs. N, whose husband is under our care. When she spoke with Mrs. N for the first time, Shauntel asked her if she would prefer the “fixings” for a meal or an already prepared meal. Mrs. N asked Shauntel to just bring canned goods because the only items she had in her home that would allow her to heat food were a hot plate, a toaster, and an electric skillet. She had no microwave or oven or stove.
Shauntel was heartbroken. She’d never thought about how easy it is to prepare a meal in her own home; she’d taken it for granted that she can cook for her family whenever she wants to with whatever appliances are in her kitchen. But Mrs. N, who was already caring for her ailing husband, had to work even harder than most to simply put food on the table. She knew at that moment that God had put her in Mrs. N’s life for a reason.
At this point, Shauntel flew into action. She contacted her church to see what additional resources and help she could find. Turns out someone knew a guy who fixes appliances and he was able to provide a used stove. They were able to also procure a microwave and George Forman grill. Shauntel called Mrs. N and told her to clear some space — A Thanksgiving miracle was about to happen.
Before Thanksgiving, Shauntel and her crew (including her daughter and a few other children who had an amazing example set for them that day) arrived at Mrs. N’s house with their bounty. Mrs. N was just overwhelmed with gratitude. She hugged Shauntel and cried, and after they plugged in the stove, she turned it on and put her hand over one of the burners. She said she was just glad to feel some warmth in the house. That’s because they don’t have central heat either.
Not only did Shauntel bring the appliances, but she also helped clean Mrs. N’s house. And she has since been back, bringing socks and blankets and other items to make Mrs. N and her husband more comfortable.
Shauntel tells me that she is the one who feels grateful. She was so humbled by Mrs. N’s situation and was deeply thankful to make such a huge difference in the lives of two people who, by all accounts, do not have it easy. She knows how blessed she is; this was her simple effort to pass some of those blessings on.
And that right there, folks, is what grace looks like. Shauntel represents all that is good about this “giving” season. She offered up love and service and received great joy in return.
Shauntel went a thousand extra miles that day. Her generous spirit will likely take her many more.
If you want to volunteer to make a meal for a family this holiday season, please call 704.375.0100 and ask to speak to someone in volunteer services.
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