August 2011-
I am starting a 29-Day Challenge to give one gift each day and see how it affects my life. I have always considered myself a giver, but I feel this challenge will challenge and focus me on giving more. I was inspired by the book 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving can Change your Life. I ran across it 2 years ago in a bookstore in Springfield, MO, and I titled a piece of paper 29 Gifts. I found that same piece of paper the other day, and I saw it as a sign to start the challenge. You can learn more about the book and challenge at

After 1 month of giving, I have continued this challenge in giving and sharing the stories with others. Hope you enjoy reading about my adventures with giving!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 37: Making a Sandwich

Today my gift was making a lady a sandwich just the way she wanted it.  I volunteered at Second Helping again, which is a program through the 1st Congregational Church in Manhattan, KS that serves meals each Sunday to those in need.  We had a great turnout of volunteers and even had two teenagers come to help.  Each week a home-cooked meal is made and sack lunches are put together for those that come.  This week I helped make the sandwiches and set up the tables.  As I was setting up the tables, a lady asked me, if we had any more sandwiches because she didn't get one.  I ran back to the kitchen and grabbed one of the extra sandwiches to give to the her.  As I presented it to the her, she looked at it closely.  She asked if she could have a sandwich with just cheese on it with no meat or lettuce.  I said, "Sure, no problem" and walked quickly back to the kitchen to solve this problem.  I took the meat and lettuce off and put it on another sandwich, so it would not go to waste.  I was so happy, I was going to make this lady's day by giving her a sandwich with just cheese.  As I presented the second sandwich to her, she looked at it closely again.  She replied she wanted white bread and would not eat wheat bread.  I walked back to the kitchen a little more slowly to solve this dilemma.  I took out another sandwich with white bread and thought I could just switch the white bread for the wheat bread.  And that's what I did.  I walked back over to the lady to present to her the third sandwich I had made for her.  Immediately, she looked at it, and she said she wanted American cheese not Swiss cheese.  I asked her if she was sure, and she said she was.  I walked back to the kitchen yet again to make her sandwich  for the fourth time.  I was determined to give her the sandwich that she wanted.  Other volunteers warned me that she was always making demands, but I wanted to make her happy and make her the sandwich she wanted.  So I pulled off the Swiss cheese, and I put a new slice of American cheese on the two slices of white bread.  I walked energetically over to the lady to present plain American cheese sandwich made with white bread to her.  This was the one, I just knew it!  She looked closely at the sandwich, which made me nervous.  She opened her mouth to speak, and I winced.  The lady said, "Oh, you are such a sweetheart!"  She was so overjoyed that she had finally gotten the sandwich she wanted.  I was overjoyed too that I had finally gotten it right.  The lady introduced herself to me as Diana and even introduced me to her son.  I told her I was happy I could make her sandwich right, and I told her it was nice to meet her.  As I left that day from volunteering, I thought back to my experience.  Diana was a "regular" at the Second Helping meal.  She probably did not have the opportunity to go out to eat at a restaurant or even enough food to get her through the week.  Sometimes in life, we have no control over our situations.  In those situations, I think we all react similarly to how Diana did.  We take comfort in rituals and in those things we still have control over.  I'm glad I met Diana because she reminds me that we are all going through something.  I believe with a little patience, a little kindness, and  a little determination, we can all make each other's journeys through life a little more joyful.

Our tables set up for the meal.

Sign outside advertising for the Free meal

Busy chopping onions for the Breakfast Casserole

Packing up the sack lunches

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