This morning, families gathered at my home to pack lunches for the Kids Working to Succeed Program at All Peoples Church in Milwaukee. Parents, aunts, and grandmas talked, kids played with each other, and in between all the friendship, we packed 25 lunches. On the menu were cheese and turkey sandwiches, chips, carrots, grapes, tootsie pops, and drinks. Lynn brought her girls to the store yesterday to buy supplies and like every shop we’ve done for this project, she’s tried to imagine exactly what would make the KWTS kids excited to see when they opened their lunch sack.  TOAM kids were a little wistful as they packed the lunches today (because they wanted to eat them) but they were happy to have snacks brought by Jobea and Nicole.

When it got time, we packed up the lunches and drove down to 2nd and Clarke to All Peoples Church. We were warmly greeted at the garden and then we walked into the church to drop off the lunches in the sanctuary.  I’ve visited All Peoples quite a bit over the past two years and entering this part of the church always makes my heart swell. 

Immediately when you enter, the beautiful architecture and stained glass windows catch your attention. Your eyes are then drawn up to the ceiling where a giant installation of paper cranes (a traditional symbol of hope and healing) hang. The pews are arranged in a semi-circle and face a small altar with many musical instruments off to the side. Today, we noticed posters hanging on the walls. Any teacher would immediately recognize the activity: Write the room. The activity was done by kids attending Camp Umoja. On large poster paper, you saw images of Martin Luther King Jr., Malala Yousafzai, and Pastor Steve and friends at a protest. The kids then wrote what they saw and what they thought on post-it notes and attached it under the photos. On another wall was a KWL about Trayvon Martin. It was impossible to read the words written by the kids and not have your heart stirred.

Beauty, purpose, mission, hope flows abundant through All Peoples and TOAM is honored to play a small part in the great work they are doing.

We ended our TOAM mission today with a tour of the gardens. There are new rain barrels in the garden and next week, they are installing an irrigation system on the hoop houses AND a shed! We asked Anna and her daughter who helps supervise the KWTS program what was still needed this summer for the garden and they said paver stones of all kinds, gloves for gardening, and food pantry donations would be greatly appreciated.

Our next and last KWTS pack for the summer will be August 4. We welcome you to join us or if you cannot, please consider donating.