Each Tuesday night at 8:45 p.m. we visit Panera Bread. Panera Bread is a restaurant. They have several items on the menu, but the fare centers on sandwiches, soup, and pastries. The bread is baked each morning and the bread and pastries are always fresh. This means whatever is not consumed at the end of the day is thrown away or donated. Our arrangements with Panera guarantee no bread is tossed on Tuesdays. We pick it up.
There are generally plenty of white loaves, wheat loaves, sourdough loaves, loaves with cheese, pumpernickel loaves, bagels, turnovers, cookies, brownies and untried breads that are round or long. We put them in large plastic storage containers with lids. We always fill the back seat and trunk of the car.
Each Wednesday we make a trip to the Southwood Boys and Girls Club. The neighborhood would be exclusive in Utah. It is a wooded area with a variety of trees, shrubs, vines and other greenery. It is not an exclusive Charlottesville neighborhood.
The Boys and Girls Club does a booming business. When we were there during the summer they had dozens of kids participating in both indoor and outdoor activities from mid-morning until late evening. Now that school has started they show up about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and are there until after dark. For example, one afternoon we watched about 20 girls between the ages of 8 and 12 dance. It was amazing. They were clap dancing. It was dancing while clapping and slapping and patting themselves, and others, in perfect rhythm with quick small steps. They were practicing for an upcoming performance and they were talented.
Our bread goes to this club where it is divided and sent home with the young people. They are very appreciative. If we show up when the youngsters are there we are the center of attention. The adults who operate the club, and parents who help, are also very appreciative.
When we pick up the bread we talk to customers at the restaurant and they admire what we do. The management and employees at Panera feel the same. In fact, when anyone hears about the project they are quick to give us a pat on the back. They say it is a wonderful thing.
It is a good project and we are glad to do it. But it is ironic to me that so very few here accept the more important bread we have to offer, the bread of life, Jesus Christ.
Our missionaries have the gospel of Jesus Christ, the living water, the bread of life. People are quick to accept bread to eat, but slow to accept the more important bread that will bless their lives and bring them salvation.
On the brighter side, I am so grateful that my family knows Jesus Christ, the source of all bread both physical and spiritual. I see they are trying to follow him and keep his commandments. I see that their lives are blessed because of their faithfulness.
“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)