Beginning in April of this year, our store owner, Mark Haight, decided to start a food group with our staff here at Haight Carpet & Interior to volunteer to serve breakfast once a month at New Horizons Ministries (NHM) in downtown Seattle. Mark’s heart heard and responded to this need, and while I think he knew he’d find willingness amongst his employees to jump on board to help, I don’t think he anticipated with how much enthusiasm so many would do this.
The first week we served, six of us met at our store in Woodinville at 6 AM – and yes, this is VERY EARLY for a lot of us – to load up the groceries we’d soon be turning into breakfast and then we all carpooled into Seattle together. On site, we prepared pancakes, eggs, bacon and fruit, which we then got to serve to about 20 hungry youth who had just spent the night at NHM in either their transitional housing or emergency shelter. Twenty is a smaller number than usual for breakfast, and so we prepared entirely too much food, but were assured that it would eventually get eaten over the course of the next day or two. I suppose it’s not too hard to find a use for leftovers with dozens of teens around every day! Many of the youth greeted us with smiles and were very appreciative for the fresh, hot meal. One of our volunteers made the comment afterwards that those youth were the politest kids she’d ever encountered – an observation made all the more poignant considering their circumstances. After breakfast was done and we’d finished all the cleanup, one of the NHM staff members took us on a tour of their facilities and helped to flesh out our understanding of all the services that they provide for the youth day in and day out. At the conclusion of our tour, we were able to stop in at Street Bean Espresso, the coffee shop that NHM opened as a job apprenticeship program for youth working to exit street life, which was certainly a perk, or perhaps a necessity for some, after the early morning!
This first experience was such a positive one that it has not been at all hard to wrangle volunteers for each proceeding month. In fact, we have so many people eager to help (even some that originally passed due to the early morning) that we are now serving breakfast once a month at both New Horizons Ministries and The Matt Talbot Center (both are LRF non-profit partners). Besides being a fun way for our employees to get involved in an activity together outside of our normal work, these breakfast serving opportunities have been eye opening and impactful for us and have provided a tangible way that we can give back and follow the call of Jesus to serve the poor in our communities. We feel honored to be able to come alongside these awesome ministries. They are making such a difference in the lives of the people that they serve!
Sales Associate & Food Group Volunteer Coordinator
(L>R) Judy, Emily, Randy, Stephanie at Matt Talbot Center