Morgan Henry's photo of the diapers arranged near our altar on April 14. Notice all the little posters and a few palms. It was, after all, Palm Sunday - so the faith formation group I work with (comprised of parents, grandparents, children and, frankly anyone else who wanted to show up) staged a little parade during the first hymn. Because I'm turning into a sentimental sap in my old age, I had to work from choking up. Oh, yeah. It's true. I get weepy. But let's go on to the blog!
In case you were intrigued by my blog about our church’s diaper drive for The Maker’s Place, we repeated the process yesterday. You see, our preacher this past Sunday (Palm Sunday) was Michael Reed, pastor and managing director of The Maker’s Place, a Hope Center and new church start in Trenton, NJ.
Rev Reed told us that when they proposed the diaper drive, The Maker’s Place was expecting to receive maybe 9,000 diapers. To their amazement, they received 90,000 diapers! That, of course, required some fancy footwork to get them all stored and ready to be given away.
Recently, the center held a “diaper party” in the basement of a local church. Diapers were given away to anyone who showed up and requested them, with no other qualification other than "I need diapers for my baby." They also served food and, over the course of the meal, got to know some of the people in the community. The Maker's place also distributes diapers two days a week.
Rev. Reed told us that the organization was contacted recently by a local hospital, who explained that they partner with an organic farm and were wondering if The Maker’s Place would like to receive free, fresh vegetables and fruit for the neighborhood. Of course, the answer was yes. Reed told us that they were stunned at the offer. You see, the thing was that all they were trying to do was one small thing: provide diapers for people who had trouble providing them for their babies. Diapers. That’s it. Small steps first, right? But suddenly, an entirely new thing came out of nowhere and into their midst: fresh food! You could say it was God at work. You could say it was the power of publicity and good-hearted people. Or you could say it was simply good luck. But whatever it was, it was good. A hospital and an organic farm had made a connection with low-income people living in Trenton.
Reed pointed out that he and the others at The Maker’s Place consciously want to shift the Trenton citizens, as well as people living in other parts of Central New Jersey, from “A Mindset of Scarcity” to “A Mindset of Abundance.” If you wonder what that means, here is the description of the two mindsets from the Hope Center’s website. (https://www.makersplace.org/blog/the-mindset-of-scarcity-vs-abundance)
A Mindset of Scarcity
A Mindset of Abundance
Which way is healthier? Living as thralls to a system that won't let you "win" or living with the idea that although we are fallible human beings, we also are relational - and it is relationships that are "life's key resource."
I realize that a mindset of abundance is the also way I have approached my writing and the characters that live within it. In the Saint Maggie series, I know that Maggie in particular lives out of a mindset of abundance. She happily welcomes people into her home and into her life. She works with them to achieve certain goals, whether that is providing space for self-emancipators traveling on the Underground Railroad, feeding and caring for wounded soldiers from both sides in Gettysburg, and opening her house as a safe place for whoever comes to her door. Even during times when Maggie has little, she is willing to share and open to possibilities. In my current work-in-progress, Maggie sets out to do one small thing: provide an education for five children who are being denied schooling She meets with resistance and outrage, but along the way creates friendship, cooperation, and hope. Wherever Maggie goes, community and family soon emerge.
So, maybe there is one small thing that you can do with someone else to make your town or neighborhood a better place, to improve connection with others, and move toward a mindset of abundance, rather than mindset of scarcity. It’s worth thinking about. It's worth doing.
But you’ll never know until you try. A little prayer might help you on your. If you aren’t the praying sort, then just hold up good thoughts and keep your heart open. Working together, communicating, and sharing life is preferable to fear, isolation, and scarcity.
At least, that’s the way I see it.
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder