For the love of PB&J

Feb 2, 2023 | by Lauren Stephens

In the lobby of the building where I work at The Salvation Army of Greenville, we offer a waiting area for those seeking assistance. In that area, we provide a section of cubbies filled with basic necessities available for the taking, such as bottles of water; hats, coats and scarves for cold weather; baby formula and snacks. All we ask is that they take what they need, and leave some for the next person. 

One day this week, we had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that I’d made earlier in the morning available in one of the cubby holes.  You’ll see in this photo the empty slots where the PB&J’s used to be, because a few people came by and ate them. 

I made the PB&J’s because sometimes folks come to us, and they’re hungry in that moment. I wanted them to have some nourishment while they waited to be seen. I believe that when you feed someone there has to be an element of love in it. You are using food as an extension of love to that person. Even without knowing much about them; you love them first and you put that love into everything you do.

No matter if it is something as simple as making someone a PB&J sandwich, or something more grand: when things are done with love it can be felt. 

I show my love by cutting sandwiches in half when I make them. It goes back to when I was a kid and my mom always cut my sandwiches one direction, and my sister’s a different direction. When I would see my mom cut mine “my way,” I knew that she was loving on me when she made that sandwich. 

•so I cut the PB&J sandwiches• 

When I finished making the sandwiches, Sarah took them to the lobby to share, where two men were waiting. As she does, I overhear one of the men say to the other, “Man, I ain’t had a sandwich cut for me since my Mama made my sandwiches. These just taste better.” 

We are called to love, even through peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

How are you showing love today to those around you? Whether it’s sending a kind smile to someone you pass on the street, sharing grace to someone you might not think deserves it, or spending time with an individual who could use some support, small acts of love can cause a beautiful ripple effect in our community. Let’s love more. 

Lauren Stephens is the Director of Social Services for The Salvation Army of Greenville, S.C. 

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