Finding Joy with Sunshine Seniors

March 25, 2023

One of my favorite days of the week is Tuesday, when I work at the Sunshine Seniors Food Distribution Center at St. John’s Baptist Church in Gainesville, GA.  I also occasionally help at the South Hall Food Pantry that my church (Christ Lutheran in Oakwood) co-sponsors.  However, there is a joy at Sunshine Seniors that’s a special treat for me.  

Our team is made up of a diverse group of folks (black, white, Hispanic) who are mostly – you guessed it – seniors, although we do allow some younger people to help, as well.  But the joy is not just in the number of bags we pack and distribute, which can range from 250-350, depending on how much food we have and the demand.  The joy is in the attitude we have when we are sharing the load.  

The Georgia Mountain Food Bank truck arrives around 11:30 a.m. and our first task is to unload the truck (this is where the younger folks are especially helpful!)  Then, we sort produce, discarding the unsavory and repack some of the items that arrive in larger containers, i.e., cherry tomatoes.  Next, we set up an assembly line, bagging the assorted food so that all our clients get a variety of whatever we have on hand. Bags of food are distributed starting at 2:00 p.m. until we run out.

Michelle is one of the younger workers who sometimes works outside loading the cars, but I’m always happy when she arrives early enough to help us pack the bags.  Michelle has a wonderful voice and is not shy about leading spirituals.  Since I often listen to gospel music on Sundays, I am surprised at how many of the songs I know and can sing along with.  Filling up bags of food for hungry people while singing spirituals is indeed a Balm of Gilead for me, soothing whatever ails my soul that day!

I thank God for my bothers and sisters at Sunshine Seniors, and particularly for Michelle who helps me forget that, even those of us who are not blessed with perfect pitch, can find joy in singing while we do the Lord’s work.