Life can change in a moment. For Paul Shofner, that moment happened when his heart stopped. He crashed his bike, then his friends rushed to his side, performing CPR until the paramedics arrived. He was in his early fifties and healthy as can be.
And yet the unexplainable happened—the trauma Paul experienced left him with a brain injury, unable to work.
Paul came from a successful career, used to long hours and busy days. But all that changed when he could no longer work. Speedy days now crept by with little or nothing to fill his time.
When he heard about the opportunity to serve at Lake Pointe’s food pantry, he jumped at the chance to meet the practical needs of the people of Rockwall. He started volunteering three years ago and hasn’t looked back.
The Lake Pointe food pantry partners with the North Texas Food Bank—one of the largest food pantries in the area. Three to four days a week, Paul picks up deliveries from one of the grocery stores the food pantry partners—stores like Target and Kroger. He takes the food back to the church, sorts it according to the rules set by the North Texas Food Bank, and preps the food bank for the day.
Arranged much like a grocery store, the food pantry gives clients the chance to choose their own produce. Paul enjoys seeing how empowering it is for people in need to be able to choose their food. He speaks to the people patronizing the pantry and dignifies visitors by listening to their stories.
Over the years serving at the food pantry, Paul has learned to accept people as they are. By hearing their stories and meeting their practical needs, Paul has the privilege to share the love of Jesus in a tangible way. Many people who visit the food pantry are elderly, abused, or disabled. Paul looks past their exterior to see them for who they are—people made in the image of God with genuine spiritual and physical needs.
Paul often bumps into some of his clients out in the community. “When they see me, they can know that I’m a normal person, just like them, but that I also love Jesus.” Some clients come to church on Sunday mornings—he’s seen some of them around Lake Pointe. Even if a client never comes to church on a Sunday, they enter the walls of a church weekly and meet people who carry the love of Jesus.
Most of the people who come to the food bank have had their own life-changing moments. Paul empathizes with the clients he serves every day. “You never know when something will happen to you. I was lucky to have the resources I did. These people didn’t have the same things I had.”
We may not have life-changing moments as extreme debilitating as Paul’s. But all of us knows the feeling of life not going as we expected. You don’t have to have a life-altering moment to be an instrument of change in another person’s life.
If you would like to help support the Lake Pointe Food Pantry, please consider serving, donating food or giving to the Missions Fund.
Written by Sophie Demuth