I recall a time when a 15 year old boy stopped by my office to talk. It was in the early years of Inside Out when kids were beginning to stop by my office daily, always without an appointment. I didn’t have time to talk, but I had said at our Saturday night bible study that we care about them, he believed me.
He sat across the desk from me and talked for about ½ an hour about the things going on in his life. He told me that he wasn’t getting along with his mom, and complained about things at home. At one point he told me that there wasn’t any food at home and he hadn’t eaten in three days.
I had been a landlord for over 15 years, renting hundreds of homes. I can sense a con from six miles away. I remember thinking secretly “this kid thinks I’m going to give him money”. As he was telling me his problems, I was waiting for him to get to the part where he asks for the cash. When he finished speaking, still without asking for anything directly, I finally asked him. “Well” I asked, “that really sounds tough, what did you want me to do about it?”
The question seemed to stun him for a moment. He thought for a moment and then offered a reply I wouldn’t forget: “I really just wanted someone to talk to, and some food if you’ve got it.”
His response was so plain and sincere, it pricked my heart. I had some peanut butter and jelly on hand, which I offered with a loaf of bread. He made a couple of sandwiches and ate them at my desk then he left. He would come back often, with his brothers and friends. We had always served free food at the Inside Out Youth groups on Saturday, but it was here that I began to realize just how important those meals were. Since then we have served thousands of meals, on Saturdays and throughout the week. After meals, we have bible devotions and use the time to build life changing relationships with youth.
Today we serve over 15,000 meals per month at Inside Out and our supported sites. Many of the kids who eat free lunches at school (75% of those in our area) have no place to eat during the summer. Thanks to the Inside Out summer food program, there is a place they can eat two full meals per day during the summer, and a hot evening meal for the rest of the year.*
About Inside Out
Our mission is creating positive change in the lives of at-risk youth and their families from the Inside Out – Through Jesus Christ
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