GENTRY, ARK. – It changes nearly every week. One week it may be those familiar vibrant green carrot tops that are peeking above the top of the box. Another week you might see the silky smooth tassels of mouthwatering yellow sweet corn nestled snugly in the corner of the stiff cardboard boxes, or maybe you’ll see some of those little cherry tomatoes that just don’t taste like the ones in the grocery store. The boxes from KT Produce in Lowell have fresh off the farm produce that varies by what the farmers may have just pulled out of the ground and taken from their gardens and farms. No week is ever exactly the same and the food boxes they sell can contain anything from red cabbage and asparagus to eggs that haven’t been too long out of the hen house.
These are the boxes that the women’s ministries team from the Gentry Seventh-day Adventist Church decided to use to make a difference in the community around their church. And these boxes are the ones Dona Young, women’s ministries director, had in her car that day as she drove past his house delivering food boxes to families affected by the current COVID-19 crisis. She couldn’t put it away, that feeling—the one that made her feel like she should stop and visit there. As her car eased into a full stop in front of his house, it just didn’t look like anyone was home. No one answered the doorbell, and as she stood there looking around her, there seemed to be no alternative but to gently set the box on the porch floor and walk quietly away.
But before she could back out of the driveway, there he was pulling up behind her. He wasn’t someone she knew well or had ever visited before, but as he and his son stood there and talked with her, she could feel the tears that would later spill down her cheeks when she was again alone.
He was probably somewhere in his fifties, way too young to have just lost his wife in the last few weeks to a sudden and totally unexpected illness. And he told her as they talked together in his front yard, in the last 16 years he had lived there no one had ever done anything like this for him before and he added that “no one has ever even driven in my driveway.”
When Young again sat there, alone in her car, with tears spilling down her cheeks, she must have seen through the parable of her own life a glimmer and a glimpse of Christ’s unending compassion for each of us in our trials. And it must have fanned the desire in her heart to grow more like our great pattern and encourage those whose hope has departed, and like Him, ease the sufferings of the afflicted.
By Debbie Upson
Photo Captions: Passing out food boxes.