In her many years of serving with Kids Eat Free, Linda Krause has learned it's more about building relationships than getting work done.
Summer is just around the corner, and everybody loves summer! Sleeping in, time for those activities that you don't have time for during the rest of the year, traveling and so much more.
But for me summer means living out my faith with my neighbors at Budget Suites Lewisville and Highland Acres Mobile Home Park. What started out as a way to do local mission work with my church family, has turned into a passion of mine.
"Here I Am Lord."
About seven summers ago, I felt God's "nudge" to do more for my neighbors. As a teacher and counselor, I witnessed first-hand what so many of our local students go through on a daily basis, whether it be family crisis or economic crisis. When I heard about a mother and her children living under a bridge on 121, my eyes were opened to those in need that were literally right here in front of us. This bridge was just a couple of miles from our home, and I drove countless times over that bridge and never was aware of those in need.
Already a volunteer for Kids Eat Free for many summers, I felt I needed to step up my game.
"Jesus Loves the Little Children of the World"
I volunteered to co-coordinate the Trietsch Kids Eat Free program. At the CCA planning meeting they had more sites than churches to sponsor each site. One of the sites needing a sponsor was Budget Suites which is about a mile from our home. At the time my daughter Kelly was working at the local elementary school, which was the school for those children at Budget Suites. Together we knew we had to get TMUMC to sponsor KEF at Budget Suites, as well as the site we had served for years at Highland Acres Mobile Home Park.
So stepping out in faith, we said, "Yes, TMUMC can serve both sites." That's a lot of volunteers!
Through the use of social media, my many Facebook friends, and wonderful TMUMC family….Trietsch has served both sites for 5 years now.
Last summer TMUMC helped serve over 4,000 lunches to hungry children, had over 340 volunteers who provided over 675 volunteer hours and gave out over 600 books.
Our volunteers were TMUMC members, community friends, and those who attend other churches.
The Kids Eat Free program (which is run by Christian Community Action) has changed over the years. We now partner with CitySquare's program "Food on the Move" so that our total focus will be building relationships with our neighbors. We play games, do science experiments, sing, do art projects, play BINGO, read, and talk.
Last year one of the other volunteers and I were invited to a baby shower for one of the moms. What a blessing to be able to join our Budget Suites friends for this happy event.
Because I live so close to Budget Suites I was visited by many of our KEF kids on Halloween this last year. I loved how the kids would say, "I know YOU!"
"They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they will know we are Christians by our love."
Over the last several years I have been humbled by the comments of adults that live there at Budget Suites. "What church are y'all from? I know that to do this you must be from a church."
"Thank you for doing this for the children. They don't have much at all."
We have even had some give us money to help buy supplies.
I thought when I started on this KEF journey that I would be helping others to see the love of Jesus, but I have found HIM in those faces of our neighbors at Budget Suites and Highland Acres.
Matthew 18:20, "For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them."
Romans 12:13, "Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice Hospitality."
1 Peter 4:10, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms."