Thank you everyone who selected a family, shopped for household supplies, and decorated a Thanksgiving Basket earlier this month. This year had its unique challenges with the Urban Homeworks UHW) offices moving and of course COVID. As ever and to no one’s surprise, the generosity and creativity of St Johns members was more than up to the challenge. Thank you also to the Basket Valet staff and the Basket check in staff.

In case you didn’t see it, by the end of the 11 o’clock service the Gathering Space at St Johns was packed with baskets waiting pick up by the UHW staff on Monday. Arriving in their personal vehicles, UHW staff carefully loaded their assigned deliveries and headed off to what UHW refers to as their PODs (People Orientated Development). (A POD is a concentration of UHW owned properties typically on 4 adjacent blocks from a common intersection. This geographical proximity enhances the UHW community building. On basket delivery day it also facilitates neighbors sharing some real joy with each other.)

All of the UHW staff had to return to St Johns for a second load and I think the staff was excited as the basket recipients. Below are some of their experiences when delivering the baskets.

  • Delivering to our apartments on Lyndale N., a gentleman opened the door to receive a basket from Tiffany and me.  He then said, “I have a gift for you” and then shared a gospel hymn in this beautiful deep baritone voice about how in caring for strangers, you may be caring for angels in disguise.
  • In delivering baskets with Anne, I recall a woman who was overwhelmed with the gifts given her – especially as she saw a set of new pots and pans in her basket.  This was also the house where I remember hearing the kids shouting in excitement behind the closed doors of what they were finding in their basket.
  • At a household of 8, the family expressed grateful thankyous as the staff delivered the first of 3 baskets and then teared up as other UHW staff brought in the other two baskets (from a St Johns parishioner who said one basket was not enough for a household of 8 people!)
  • My experience was that people were surprised, excited, and very thankful! The best parts were over-hearing the exclamations of surprise and joy, especially from kids, after they had thanked us and closed their door
  • Later in the day, it was a wonderful blessing to drop off a thoughtfully crafted basket from St. John’s at Angela’s apartment – a wonderfully generous resident who had helped create and distribute dozens of baskets for her neighbors earlier that morning.

Thank you so much for participating. I hope you had fun.
John Corlett