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Monday, August 15, 2011

Serving at Clare House - by Edward Ramos, Jr.

For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.' . . ."The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.'
Matthew 25:35, 36 and 40 (NIV)

According to the verses above, when we help someone, we are indeed serving Jesus. Many times we can focus on our lives and forget about ministering to others; taking our eyes off ourselves and looking to the stranger, tending to their needs.

For the last thirty-three years, Clare House has coordinated the ministry of serving people in need of the Twin Cities area. Located on Washington Street, it serves as a beacon of hope in our city, giving bags of groceries and baby items (baby food, diapers, etc.) to those in need. Over all these years, various churches, groups and individuals volunteer their time, efforts, resources and supplies to help out with the mission of Clare House.

For me, it has been a rewarding experience volunteering and knowing that what I do here helps others. The first time I stopped by at Clare House, it was to deliver some groceries on behalf of my church. While there, I met a couple of ISU faculty members I knew that volunteered there. After taking a brief tour and talking with Tina, I was hooked. For the last four years I’ve returned every Wednesday evening to sort, pack, and bag groceries for distribution, as well as re-stock shelves of food. Working at mid-week, we also lay the groundwork for the next group of volunteers that visits on Saturdays. Then they perform the same tasks on Saturday, laying the groundwork for our duties when we return on the following Wednesday.

Through the years we’ve developed friendships with each other, adding others along the way. While we work, there is always joking, laughing and the usual chaos when we have so many things to do in two hours or less. But we finish all the tasks, relishing a job well done, even when some of our co-workers may be sick or away on vacation. After we’re done, we will just hang out with Tina and talk of the day’s events or discuss how many cans of protein we still need to re-stock the shelves downstairs. Soon our time is over, and we say our farewells to each other and make way to our respective homes. As we all leave, it is a good feeling, knowing that in a small way, we are helping others and serving Christ in the end.

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