Today's post is section three of chapter two of my book, A Day of Hope. Here's links to the other two sections in case you missed them:
Picture: What does it look like?
The Whole Enchalida
HONOR YOUR PROMISES
Are you a person of your word?
I’m sure you know someone who often will say one thing but do another. It’s the person who will suggest certain things for other people to do, yet they don’t follow those same principles. These are the people who say they are going to send you an email or call you back yet never do.
My favorite is when I leave a voicemail for someone and their voicemail recording says, “Leave a message, and I will call you back as soon as I can.” Ha! Ya right! It’s almost comical because I will be leaving the person his second or third message without ever having a message returned to me. In a way, that person has promised to give me a call back yet is breaking that promise. In leading A Day of Hope you’ll learn to become a man or woman who keeps promises.
I’m sure you’ve made promises before, and you’ll need to make another promise when you lead A Day of Hope. It’s the promise you make to the families of A Day of Hope to provide a basket of food and a turkey for Thanksgiving. I didn’t say a promise to give your best effort or a promise to try your hardest. It’s a promise to give them food for Thanksgiving.
This is the promise you make to a family when they call to register for a basket of food. No “ifs, ands or buts” about it. You have to make it happen. Now that you’ve heard of the family who’s in need, you have to find a way to bring them some food for Thanksgiving. You have to find the donated funds, the food and volunteers who can deliver the Thanksgiving food they need. Feel like a lot of pressure? It is.
The way we organize our project is to begin registering families in October and register them all the way up to Thanksgiving if we have enough food to provide for them. Since we take registrations of families in October, this means we often start registering families not knowing if we’re going to have the resources, money, food, and volunteers to be able to deliver them what they need. In a way, we’re trusting in our own ability to bring in the donated money and donated food that we’ll need to feed families. This can cause big issues if your fundraising and food collection doesn’t go as well as planned.
The benefit to this system is that you register families over a long period of time instead of registering hundreds of families over a couple of days before Thanksgiving. It also gives families peace of mind for a month or so knowing they’ll be taken care of for Thanksgiving. They know that they’ll be able enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner, and they won’t spend weeks worrying about how they’re going to feed their family who doesn’t have any food in the cupboard.
Over five years of leading A Day of Hope, we’ve been able to feed the families who’ve requested food with the exception of one year. Our third year we over extended ourselves and told too many families that we would provide them a Thanksgiving meal. When Thanksgiving arrived, we didn’t receive as much food and monetary donations as we thought we would, and we ran out of food to give to those families who had registered. It was heartbreaking for the families. I had one person who cried to me over the phone when I told her we ran out of food. Another person I talked to on the phone got angry and yelled at me. It was so painful, both for the families and for me because I was the one responsible for finding a way to honor our promise to feed them.
In a way, leading A Day of Hope means that you carry the load. You carry the responsibility of feeding those families on your back. But that’s one of the sacrifices you have to make as a leader. You’ve got to make those promises, and you’ve got to find a way to make them happen.