In my last post I shared about Imago Dei Church and how they served the poor in downtown Peoria.
While part of the church was serving the the dinner downtown, another part of the church was having a Christmas gathering at Riverwest, an apartment complex devoted to income restricted families. A step up from the poor, per say.
When I woke up Sunday morning, (after sleeping 16 hours!) I had the opportunity to help load the baskets to move them to the Riverwest area. (I didn't shoot images until 3pm that afternoon when the gathering took place.) I thought about how much work it would be to put these baskets together. Someone had to decide what to get, where to get it, how much to get, where to get that much of it and fill them all. Makes my help of loading the baskets rather petty, but my hand was apart of something bigger. And, that is what the church is much about. Working together to make a difference in the community around.
There was also a bag made for each child filled with gifts. I'm not sure what was inside, I didn't get one. I'm only the photographer. ;D
Each bag had the child's name on it. The excitement of them coming up to a bag as big as them was an amazing thing to watch and be apart of.
Smiles, hopping, dancing, spinning...it all happened when the kids name were called, one by one, to come up and snag their gift. Some were big enough to carry them, others were not. A few allowed mom to take their bag while others literately dragged them back to their chairs to open them.
It was adorable to watch as 3 little brothers (pun not intended) came up together. I could tell by how they walked together that they had a brotherly love for each other. They stuck by each others side, so close their shoulders were almost always touching. It's feels good to see unity in young siblings.
Well, maybe they were only terrified. *shrugs*
Some ignored me because they had gifts coming while others didn't want to leave without a picture. It's these smiles that drive people to serve. It's a reward in itself. A reward that isn't money, it isn't fame, it's not even a pat on the back.
It's a lot of work that's done knowing that what is being done goes beyond the physical action and into the heart and mind of those being served.