every other sunday my family goes to church. granted we arrive in jean shorts, t-shirts that have seen four days of wear, ourselves wholly unshowered. and when we walk in, instead of turning right towards the talkin' place we take a left and head to the basement. then for the next hour or two we make sandwiches for homeless shelters.
depending on how many other folks show up the work normally takes between one and two hours.
it is worth mentioning that the "other folks" i mentioned are endlessly interesting and/or curious.
i once asked the man who runs the operation how he got started doing it. after a moment of reflection he said he wanted his children to experience the sensation of helping people without seeing or hearing the people they were helping. his response moved me.
but granted, i'm not part of this basement operation for the same reason anyone else is part of it. as with most things in my life, the reason i am there is my family. first via marty who is perpetually on the watch for opportunities to get the kids involved in helping folks, wether those people are walking by your house or wether they were on the receiving end of a hurricane halfway around the world. in her asking around she learned of this sandwich making operation and started taking the kids there. i did not go for the first six months or so because it happened at the same exact time i did my long-distance bike ride every week. then one day marty said i should maybe consider making an appearance because she overheard alex telling some of the other workers, "yeah, my dad goes bike riding now so he doesn't have to come.". i've been to virtually every sandwich sunday since.
after the work is done marty lets each of the kids buy a donut from a table of refreshments that gets set up for the congregants. watching my kids select their donut, carefully transport it home, meticulously setup up their eating station, and then savoringly consume this special treat you can see where their true faith lies.
a few times a year the donut station is not there. when this happens marty gently asks if i can run by a grocery store so we can get some donuts. the gentle part of the ask is because she knows my muscles are twitching to get home and on the bike. now you see where my faith lies.