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26 January 2009

Preparation for a Tea House

Every Saturday the gang of team members and volunteers turn up early to start packing and bagging food to be given later to the refugees that come through. On any given day the numbers might range from 700 to 900. Right now the majority of the refugees that come through the ARC (Athens Refugee Center) are families from Afghanistan, but there are many others as well.

There is often extra things to give away, like oranges or milk, which come from various donors. God provides in the most unusual ways for sure!
To keep some semblance of order, and for recording, the refugees come through the door and then line up to be noted in the computer database. Anyone who has come through the doors for food before has a Helping Hands number, which allows them a number of tickets for food. A new-comer must some kind of paper so that we can enter them into the computer. The data is only used for us, but it helps to keep track of the numbers and families versus singles and so forth. This is the hardest part of any Saturday, as the lines are long and hard to police. It must be frustrating indeed to have this aspect, but in order to serve 700-900 there has to be some kind of order.

Both sweetened and unsweetened tea is served from the kitchen window in colorful plastic cups. A refugee can have as many cups as they like, and come back throughout the day as many times as they might want. I find that people have their favorite colors! And despite the amount of sugar in the tea, I have to say that it is rather good.

Outside the kitchen the refugees present their tickets to those handing out the food packets. These two volunteers are ready for the day, with bags to pack both oranges and milk as well as the normal bread with feta, olives and peppers.

The doors open at 11:45 and the ARC is open until 4:00 pm for chatting, playing chess and checkers, drinking tea, watching the Jesus film and enjoying Providential encounters. We also welcome anyone wanting to stop in on their journey and help, so come on over!

1 comment:

pat said...

hi stace! just read your milk tale and thought i'd check the blog. your pics and tales bring back so many memories! even your pics from corinth. we stood on the same bridge when we were there a couple years ago. sounds like the press of the people is a little overwhelming! don't be discouraged! the press of the people had the same effect on the disciples sometimes. read their reactions when Jesus asked them how much food they had when He fed the multitudes or their exasperation when He asked 'who touched me?' when the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of his garment, or how they tried to quiet blind Bartimeaus when he cried out for healing. I hear your plea to be more like Jesus when the press of the people closes in. that's music to God's ears. we all live in the flesh, but seek to be like Him. Keep seeking and He'll keep sending the people. you are a masterpiece in the hands of the Master Craftsman. be still and allow Him to cut away the everything that stands in the way of Him shaping you into that masterpiece. rest in Him and you'll find rest! Allow His Peace to reign in your life! Pat K