Thanks, Giving, and Connection

At this time of year, many of us are rushing around, trying to decide on the perfect appetizer,on table settings and decor, and pairing wines that will fit the budget but still impress our guests. And some are trying to figure out where they will get their next meal. Or how to pay the electric bill. Or wishing they had an electric bill to pay. Between the destruction in the wake of the hurricane and the current unemployment across the country, the needs we see around us can be overwhelming. How can we help? How can we possibly make a difference when the need is everywhere and so much bigger than us?

Fourteen years ago, there was one man, in a dark place, with no home and very little in his pocket. He saw a family and recognized a need. A need he deemed greater than his, and he chose to do something. With the last of his money, he went to the store to pull together what he could to give the family a meal on Thanksgiving. When he returned, they were gone, so he distributed the food to others. One man, one meal, and a giving heart.

Flash forward to 2010. I am proud to say that man became my Brother-in-law and that act of kindness has become Gobble, Gobble, Give. The man who chose to give, when he had nothing to give, increased his efforts. Healthy, happy, and successful by any measure, he continues to build, continues to give. What began as one man and one meal grew to an organization with groups in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and NYC. An organization that fed 5,000 people that year.

Here is an excerpt of a letter I wrote to him in 2010 (shared with permission):

“Growing up, there are several Bible stories that are the staples. You hear them over and over again. Some have impact, but most, I think don’t get really processed until later in life, when you have the ability to see things in a new light. One of those stories is about how Jesus takes a boy’s lunch, multiplies the bread and fish, and is able to feed a hungry crowd of 5000.

I had heard it many times, but I didn’t process it until I heard your story and the results from this Thanksgiving. The miracle that was written about in Matthew seemed like just that….a miracle…nothing practical to apply in life. A one time event. But it wasn’t.

Christ took the lunch of a boy who was willing. It wasn’t much when he started, just a willingness to share what he had, but when he was finished, 5000 people ate that day. A miracle.

What you have done with Gobble, Gobble, Give is just that to me. A miracle. A compassionate heart and the willingness to help others has exploded into this HUGE thing. It is so wonderful to see. I wanted to let you know the effect it has had on me. You didn’t feed my belly, but you fed my soul. “

And so last year, we began Gobble, Gobble, Give in Austin. And this year they are adding Santa Monica. The miracle continues to grow. If you live near any of these locations, it is easy to participate and it only requires a plate of food, two hours of your morning, and your willingness to be used. If you don’t live near, your donation can help make it possible.

I am grateful for his example and for all that I have been given. I am grateful for the chance to give just a small portion of that next Thursday and throughout the year. Won’t you join us in giving others a happy Thanksgiving?