Earlier that summer I had tossed and turned in bed, unable to fall asleep. During those wakeful hours, I sensed the Lord sharing an idea with me: to host a back-to-school clothing giveaway for people in the community.
I’d approached my pastor with the concept and he agreed that our church would sponsor the event. Only we had a few hurdles to overcome before we could accomplish it.
First, I needed to secure a location for the outreach. Our congregation met in a school for worship services. We didn’t have a budget for the clothing giveaway, so renting the school for the event wasn’t an option. Nor was renting any other facility. But God made a way.
We secured an outdoor space in the town square near where our church met. It featured a few benches, a lovely fountain, but no tables where we could display the clothing and shoes we would offer at the event. And no covering from the rain during the dog days of summer either.
God again provided. I approached a sister church to ask about borrowing several long tables, and they consented. Now we just needed to collect some donated clothes and get the word out about the giveaway.
Our congregation gave enough clothing and shoes—for children and adults—to fill the guest bedroom in my family’s home with garbage bags filled to the brim with donations.
We broadcast the event through as many free outlets as possible, hoping that word of mouth would also help the message spread. At one church where we’d posted a sign advertising the giveaway, one member noticed it and wanted to contribute. She mailed me a check to help with the event; I used that money to purchase some children’s underwear and socks to add to the donated items.
So, despite starting with no money, no location, and no other resources, God brought together all the necessary details to help local families with back-to-school needs.
On the evening of the outdoor event, volunteers with our church unloaded the borrowed tables and set them up around the fountain, as I watched the clouds build.
God, You provided everything else for this outreach; will You provide the right weather, too? I prayed again as I watched families approach the tables laden with stacks of clothes.
Although we served only 50 or so people that night, I delighted in helping people “shop.” Assisting little girls in finding their sizes, helping a mom find something purple for her daughter, showing a little boy some jeans that would actually fit him (instead of the baggy pair he wore that evening) … All this made the work to set up the event more than worthwhile. In fact, it made me come alive.
At the end of the outreach, my volunteer team broke down tables and loaded them into vehicles. We bagged up leftover donated items, which another church member delivered to people in need all over our county later that fall. As my family and I drove away from the town square with the sky turning dark, we heard a crack of thunder. God had indeed held back the almost-daily summer rainfall until the outreach had concluded.
In each and every instance, God provided exactly what was needed to make the clothing giveaway a reality. Including a reprieve from the rain.
Allison Lee writes from Florida.© 2002 - 2020, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.