Peeling Away the Bark.

This past weekend I was given the opportunity to experience an outreach in Pontiac, MI.  Pontiac is a blue collar area in a predominantly white collar Oakland County, the wealthiest county in Michigan.  At the heart, Pontiac has always been about factory jobs.  Those are now gone and poverty and hard living have taken over the area, sucking a lot of hope with it.  Sometimes people just need a break.

This is where Dave Shuman and Kensington Community Church come in.  Although its not a new idea, its not one that was happening in Pontiac.  Dave, the leader of the Middle School group at the Lake Orion church campus, organizes a free cookout at a local park for anyone who shows up.  He does this every 3rd Saturday of the month.  And people come.

All that join him in his efforts bring food, sweets, fruits, veggies, meat…the works.  Food always encourages conversations.  And conversations always encourage relationships.  And relationships bridge gaps and gives hope.

Food can create friendships.


It can bring out the crazy in people.

It always brings out smiles!


They eat, they smile and they leave with a little more light than when they showed up.


There is this giant majestic tree that stands off center of the park.

Its bark peels off to reveal new bark underneath.  It makes for beautiful patterns on its branches and seems to invite us to peel back more bark to reveal the fresh newness of whats underneath.  To let the light on the fresh bark so it can absorb its goodness and grow.  Much like what Dave has started doing here.

I loved seeing the kids load up their pockets with fruit and going back for just one more cookie.  The idea of complete strangers tossing a football around or just talking about the tastiness of the little brownie cupcakes-which were all gone before I got one-gave it a common place.  And that’s where everything begins, at a common place.  Dave tells me that this happens every Saturday in Detroit.  People bring more than food, they bring clothes to give away.  What so many of us take for granted and toss away is so treasured and needed by our own neighbors.  It is humbling to think of so many so close in such need, but so uplifting knowing there are people so willing to take action to help those same people.  Thanks, Dave, for allowing me to document a little of what you think you do and a lot of what you are doing for others!


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