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Thankful to Give from Their Own Table
By Storytelling Team Member

Eight people from a Rock Church small group for married couples demonstrated their thankfulness this Thanksgiving Day by personally cooking and distributing meals to neighborhoods in San Diego, El Cajon and Ocean Beach.

For 10 years, small-group leaders Michael and Shawn McCowan, with their four children, have had an annual family tradition of handing out meals to the homeless from their car.

Inspired by the McCowans, their small group made it their project this year to impact the communities near them in a similar way.“We’re happy that others have taken it upon themselves to touch people’s lives,” said Michael. “We hope that more people will see the value of giving from their own table. It makes the giving personal.”

“We hope that more people will see the value of giving from their own table. It makes the giving personal.”-- Michael McCowan

“It’s great serving God,” said group member Doug Nelson, “It’s a great way to spend Thanksgiving Day – not thinking about us.”

Doug distributed meals with his wife, Dyan, and their small-group host, Marilyn Mike. The three went to neighborhoods in Ocean Beach, including Robb Field and the OB pier, meeting many homeless – many of them teenagers whom they invited to church.

“I told them, ‘We would love to have you (at the Rock),’” said Dyan.

Marilyn added that many recipients she spoke to were grateful for having someone come to them where they were.

“Some liked that they didn’t have to go anywhere,” said Marilyn. “They liked that we were amongst them. One said to me, ‘This is what heaven will be like.’”

Greg and Lisa Schumsky took their teenage children to El Cajon, where they drove around until they found people who needed a meal. There was a young man named Larry, who said he had been kicked out of his home for drug use; a man named Earl; a recently hospitalized man named Alex; and a threatening-looking man named Tim who turned out to be one of the nicest they met. The nameless faces became humanized as the family learned their stories.

“We saw this one man who appeared threatening and we weren’t going to stop. Our kids said we really can’t judge him, so we turned around,” said Greg. “The kids loved it.”

“It was so sweet…just talking to them,” said Lisa, adding that the time and expense involved made them realize they could possibly give meals more often.

“It was a really neat experience. It really wouldn’t take any effort to do that once a month.”


An anonymous volunteer writer with Rock the Word: The Rock Church Writers Ministry wrote this story. If you're interested in writing, or in telling how God is using the Rock to change lives, go to for more information.


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