Our military housing community enjoys a tradition that is called Bread Sunday. Each week the same gracious volunteer gets up early Sunday morning and makes her way to a local supermarket chain where she picks up baked goods donated for the benefit of neighborhood military members. Sometimes it is heavy on the bread and other times it is heavy on the desserts. Though the selection of goods is different each week, the cheerful smile and spirited conversation with our generous volunteer is something we have grown accustomed to expect. When we first moved to the neighborhood, I was reluctant to make the short walk down to the community center for a handout. My feeling was that others were more deserving of the donated goods than I was. A few months ago, I finally made the trek and realized that many others must have felt similarly. There weren’t many people choosing to participate in the supermarket’s generosity. In fact, less than half of the donated goods were ultimately taken that day.
Since then, my wife and I have made it a point to both directly participate in and spread the word about Bread Sunday. When I initially heard about the weekly event, the first thing that came to mind was charity. I don’t consider myself a person in need and therefore dismissed the initiative as being for families less fortunate. I feel very different about it now. Each walk to Bread Sunday gives me reason to reflect and understand that it isn’t about charity at all. It’s about community. It’s about connection. It’s about caring.
Yes, we carry a loaf of bread and the occasional baked good back to our home each week. And we do so after enjoying conversations with neighbors. Our participation is a means of expressing gratitude to the local supermarket for caring about our military community. Our support is a way of thanking the volunteers who donate their time. It’s not about the bread at all. It’s about being a true community. We have a long way to go as a neighborhood in that regard, but Bread Sunday is inspiring others to create additional opportunities to connect.
- How do you connect with your neighbors?
- Is your neighborhood a residential area or a community?
- How might you turn charity into connection?