Written by Corrie Emmons
First off I want to say I am sorry for not blogging as much as I should be. As I look at what my brothers Samuel and Jordan have written, I can say that they are doing an excellent job conveying what is going on here, and their thoughts on these issues are pretty much very accurate representations of what is going through my own brain.
So it is now July 18, and our time here at CityTeam is now coming to a close. On Saturday, we will be packing up and leaving to go to the School Of Urban Missions with the rest of our BayUP team for about a week. We will be participating in a time of debriefing everything we have learned and heard here, from our program days and our time at our respective sites. I would say that it is truly a bittersweet ending to our month at CityTeam. The men here have become friends to me, and I will truly miss them. Since it is our last week, we are trying to cram as much activity into this period as we can manage. Out of all the things we have done here at CityTeam, there are still more facets to the ministry that we have not gotten to see in action or be apart of. SO this is the week in which we do all the things we have wanted to do! Yesterday, we got to participate in a community food distribution. This is different than the food bank distribution that happens every week day at the CityTeam site. Normally every week day, food gets dropped off by the Alameda County Food Bank, and we distribute it for free to whomever comes for it. What has been happening lately is the large Chinese community in Downtown Oakland has been taking advantage of the system. They come in droves, and take the food we give, and instead of using it to feed themselves, most people proceed to go sell it at their markets, or to local restaurants. This practice is totally fine, because the food is free to everyone who wants it. BUT, the purpose of the food bank is to get sustenance to the populations that actually need it. And in Oakland, there are a lot of hungry people who aren’t getting proper nutrition.
So the new policy is whenever produce is delivered to us, instead of giving that out at downtown, we load it all up in the CityTeam van, and head out to the projects in West and East Oakland. It was a cool experience driving up into the neighborhoods and knocking on people’s doors, or seeing people on the street and filling their arms with food. I thought to myself “these are the kind of drive-bys that should be happening.”
Yesterday was my first day doing this. I want to do it every day now. To see people receiving such vital and direct help is such a blessing. The best part about it is interacting with the community directly. The goal is to hit up of different neighborhoods and projects each time, and while we are there we get the recipients information so we can come back when they need things, and they can come to CityTeam to take opportunity of the other resources available to them. People need to understand that they are cared about, and CityTeam is letting people know in a very practical way.
So on Saturday the 14th was our family and friends visitor day, and I was blessed with the presence of my parents It was so good to see them and show them exactly what I am doing here at BayUP. One thing that I was sad about was that I wanted the same opportunity for my friends. But, low and behold, I got my wish as Jordan and I were on the receiving end of a surprise visit by our friends from Chico. Shout out to Moki, Anna G, Katelyn and Biscuit for giving me one of the best surprises I have had! It meant so much to have you guys come and see what BayUP is all about. I am truly thankful and blessed by you all.
So as I embark on the last couple of days at CityTeam, I ask that you please continue to pray for guidance and safety, as well as coherence with all the information I have been exposed to thus far. God is so good, and your prayers are heard. Thank you for taking the time to follow this blog, and I will try and post again soon.