Recently, I have been sharing with our friends like you who have made Hope Gardens Family Center possible that if they are ever in need of a hug, then they should stop by Hope Gardens Family Center with me. I stopped in last night to say “Hi” to the 13 moms and 24 children who are now living a life of hope at Hope Gardens Family Center. The cafeteria is being renovated, so I had to wander down to the future day care center to find everyone eating their evening meal. As I walked in the room, I was mobbed by 20 children from 2 years old to 10 years old! I am not kidding – I received a heartfelt hug from each one of them. “When are you going to come out and play with us on the playground again?” they asked. What in the world is more priceless than that? The children under two either had too much food on them or were too little to get out of their chairs to hug me, but their precious smiles were just as heartwarming. Imagine getting a sweet smile from some beautiful 4-month-old little ones. What a great way to end a day of work and see the fruits of your labor!
Earlier in the day, as temperatures rose to 97 degrees, I joined about 10 other staff and volunteers to take extremely cold water out onto the streets of Skid Row. This is our common practice when it is 85 degrees hot or above in downtown Los Angeles and lately we are out on the street so many days in a row that we are running out of bottled water! However, we are not running out of the joy that we receive when we hand a cold bottle of water to a struggling, thirsty person on the street, whose hope and even life is waning. We receive some of the most heartfelt thanks, wonderful smiles, and sincere words of encouragement that you could imagine.
Thanks for your support and keep us in your prayers! I will be on the receiving end of these priceless rewards for you until you can come out and join me soon. — Rev. Andy B.