Melissa Cook Testimonial

My favorite quote in the world is from Mother Teresa, who said; “Break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.”

Well, honestly I have had a few of those moments in my lifetime and as hard as they have been, I wouldn’t change anything. One of my more positive heartbreaking times has come from serving at BACH (our breakfast program that provides fresh, hot meals for those experiencing economic disadvantage). We feed and minister to upwards of 300+ people every Saturday morning.

About 4 years ago, after much prodding from friends to go help, I finally went. I said, “I’ll go one time but after that no promises.” I’m not a morning person and I honestly didn’t think I had it in me to feel comfortable around those type of people. While that sounds anything but politically correct, I was honestly afraid I would sit down and cry or just be awkward around them because I felt so badly for them.

My first assignment at BACH was to walk around with cookies and desserts and ask who would like some. Well right away, I realized it wasn’t nearly as awkward as I had feared. I asked at each table, “Who would like a dessert?” as they responded affirmatively, I would take the tray over and let them choose what they wanted. I asked at one table and a seemingly shy gentleman raised his hand and nodded. When I made my way over there, he said, “I don’t really want anything, but I noticed that you smiled at the people who said yes, and I just wanted you to smile at me.” My heart literally broke for him at that moment, what a simple request, how could I refuse? I sat my tray down and said to him, “I’m going to make you a promise, I will do my best to be here every week and not only will I smile at you, I’m going to give you a big hug.” I hugged him and chatted with him briefly. His name is Richard – I call him sweet Richard. Since that day, I have missed very few Saturdays and I very rarely missed getting a hug from my dear friend. When I see him, my heart literally smiles all day! My job at BACH has changed several times, but Richard always manages to find me! I can hear his sweet voice saying, “Miss Melissa I’m here for my hug!” Sometimes he comes back multiple times during the morning saying, he needs just one more hug.

Yes, people come because their stomachs are empty, but many come because they need a hug, a smile or just a kind word. My heart breaks pretty much every week, but it’s the best medicine my soul could ever receive. While their physical needs never seem to end, neither does their longing to be loved, even if it’s just through a kind word, a smile and a hug.