Hope:  Connections Through Giving
12.3.23 First Sunday of Advent
50th Anniversary Break Bread Together
Deuteronomy 15:7-8, 10-11 and Matt 25:31-40


Today is a very special day in that we are celebrating 50 years of the Break Bread Together mission, AND we are celebrating the hope of Advent.

It is remarkable that together these two special events intertwine and are celebrated together today.  Just as we find hope in the celebration of a new birth so long ago, so too do we experience hope through the mission of Break Bread Together that we celebrate today and in years to come.

For those who may not be familiar with the mission of Break Bread Together, even though you may have volunteered or given a donation in the past, you may have never heard the history of how the mission started, and how this mission still operates today.  You will soon!

First, we begin our Storybook Advent series with “The Giving Snowman” by Julia Zheng:       

In this beautiful story about giving and the hope his gifts bring, we find that the snowman was equipped with what was needed to share with those who became his friends on their journey in life.  Just as Jesus was equipped from before his birth, God equips us today to help those in need.

We learn that the snowman didn’t just watch people pass by, he was observant, he noticed them and he communicated with them because he cared about them, the same way Jesus cares about you.

What does Snowman offer those who pass by him? 

                A hat for the homeless.

                A carrot for the hungry.

                Sticks to build a fire to warm a family that was cold.

                A scarf to warm a traveler on his journey that provides warmth and safety.

As the snow stops and the sun shines, Snowman starts to melt — with only a little of himself left —

It is in the return of the kindness and gratitude of the Snowman’s giving that the recipients form a TEAM of givers, and Snowman is blessed for giving to those in need.

The team comes together to rebuild, give thanks, and help others who are in need!  Through connections, friendships are made, giving brings hope, and joy is experienced.  The same joy experienced in the promised hope of the Messiah born on that silent night in Bethlehem.

Lamar Cole, husband of Florence Cole, will now read the history of Break Bread Together as prepared by Florence, and Beth Mathis, our current Break Bread Coordinator, will follow with all the mission does today.



Giving to others is a virtue that connects all of us and makes our lives more beautiful! 

The real meaning of hope is described as an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.

The mission of Break Bread Together brings this hope.

We are all children of God, and we are blessed when we help members of God’s family, when we help those in need.

Through the mission of Break Bread Together, God answers the hope of those longing for a hot meal with cheerful givers, and God sends the right people at the right time to fill a need.

I want to say a special thanks to Ann Smith who saw a need in 1973, and approached Florence Cole with the idea. 

I want to say a special thanks to Florence Cole who understood Ann’s vision, and understood the steps necessary to get the program started, and the steps needed to continue organizing and promoting and doing the necessary work.

Their shared vision and work through First Presbyterian Church members, along with numerous volunteers and donors have made feeding those in need in our community possible for 50 years.  Think about that… how much hope can be given and joy shared when God plants a seed.  When a vision is born, and connections are made.  God equips us and continues to send us out in the world to continue the work of Jesus.  

All involved have been truly blessed, and we continue to be blessed through the leadership of Beth Mathis, our Break Bread Coordinator, who does an incredible job organizing volunteers and soliciting donations.  I can’t tell you how many routes she has to run herself when volunteers don’t appear so that people can be fed.

A special thanks to Jeff Lind who does an awesome job preparing hot meals and delivering them to the church Monday through Friday each week.  Thank you!

I would like to ask any of you here today that have had anything to do with Break Bread Together —- volunteering, donating, providing gifts, supporting through prayers, or as recipient of the program, please stand if you are able so that you can be recognized. 

YOU are the Advent HOPE for those in need.  YOU are the givers that help make connections that bring joy.  YOU are the hands and feet of Jesus.

May God continue to bless each of you, our church and our community through the mission of Break Bread Together.


*Cover Art Unsplash; used with subscription