What could possibly happen when an individual is inspired to bless others with a holiday meal, invites neighbors to help, and leaves the logistics to God?
In a recent example, the seemingly impossible became possible.
As a result, 120 employees at Resort Services Inc. (RSI) in Bluffton received gift boxes Nov. 26 with enough traditional Thanksgiving “fixings” to feed a family of six or more.
In each box were 18 Thanksgiving dinner items, including a 12- to 16-pound turkey – and a pan in which to cook it, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, stuffing, cranberries, rolls, corn bread, milk, eggs, pie and more.
It all started as a vision, said Barb Danyi of Rose Hill, who organized the effort. When asked where the idea came from, she replied, “This may be a little difficult to explain. God! For whatever reason, He wanted to pour out His blessings on these employees. Don’t know why exactly, but then, I don’t have to understand,” she said.
Danyi said the annual Thanksgiving meal mission has been going on quietly with a few friends for a number of years. Each year, the group prays for guidance as to who is intended to receive the donated food. Until now, it has been just a few families.
This year, Danyi said, for three days she kept getting “nudges” about RSI employees. When she called the office and asked how many there were, she was told 140. “I wish someone could have taken a selfie of my face when I hung up the phone,” she said. “That was a lot!”
(Of those, 120 eventually signed up to receive a meal.)
Overwhelmed by the idea, but committed to the challenge at hand, she prayed for help. And she got it.
She posted an invitation on Nextdoor app and 100 folks from 14 Bluffton neighborhoods stepped up. Danyi said, “There is a Scripture in the Bible, Hebrews 10:24, that says, ‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,’ and truly, that scripture is what has happened here.”
Answers to all the questions that had overwhelmed Danyi began to be answered:
How was this effort going to be funded? Donations came rolling in. Danyi had calculated that the total cost would be $2,841. Donations of cash totaled $2,851, she said. “I guess the Lord could have made it $2,841 to hit the mark perfectly, and he probably did and I goofed somewhere in my calculations,” Danyi said.
And then, what would the items be put in? How could 120 frozen birds be stored? Lori said she could provide 120 sturdy cardboard boxes. A manager at Walmart said the store would provide turkeys at 38 cents a pound, and could hold boxes, cans and refrigerator and frozen items until needed.
And, how many people and vehicles would it take to transport all these items to RSI for distribution? Roger offered a panel truck. Others offered cars, trailers and trucks and their help in loading and unloading.
Bags of groceries were left on a front porch, some with money stuck between can goods of corn and green beans. “Hilariously, two frozen turkeys were left behind a dead plant on my porch one day,” Danyi said.
The dry items were picked up from Walmart on Nov. 23 by a small group of volunteers.
On Nov. 24, in Danyi’s garage, more like-minded people came together – moms, dads, grandparents, kids, and husband and wife teams – to separate the items and pack 120 individual boxes.
Then, on Nov. 26, the provisions were off to RSI, where 20 volunteers gave out the boxes.
“It was really beautiful,” said Catherine Finn, human resources manager at RSI. “(The employees) are so thankful. They are very deserving, and they really needed it. It was a blessing to everyone.”
The next day, Nov. 27, gratitude was still running high at RSI. “I’ve been getting hugs all day,” Finn said. “Today, one of the ladies said, ‘There was even cranberries!’ She couldn’t believe it.”
Danyi had called that morning to see if any employees had been missed. “I told her there were three more that didn’t get a box,” Finn said. “Then a little later, I had to call her back and tell her two more had asked about a box. She said, ‘God told me there were five more, so when you said three, I wondered about the other two.’ She’s out shopping now for the rest.”
Danyi gives God all the credit for the outpouring of inspiration, donations, time, effort and willingness of neighbors to do something good for others. “God has moved in Bluffton!” she said. “He has united hearts, spurring one another onto love and good deeds! … A flame that was sparked by one individual’s listening ear to His plan for providing for RSI employees, ignited a flame that spread like wildfire throughout our communities and they responded!”