Serving through the Piggly Wiggly

Gratitude Day 244

Fri., Apr. 5, 2019

1 Peter 4:10 – Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

In basketball, coaches talk about the 6th player in. He or she is the first person off the bench. While not a starter, she or he plays a very important role. They must be ready to enter the game at any time, ready to relieve whoever needs a break.

The Seattle Seahawks NFL football team boasts of their 12th man. Affectionately, the Seahawks call the crowd, their fans, their 12s. They consider them their “secret weapon.” This organization views their fans as such an integral part of their organization that they retired the #12 jersey.

Hubby Rick and I live in the small community of Poynette, WI. With only about 2,000 residents, Main Street is three blocks long. There’s not a stop light within miles.

There are many great things about small towns. More than once, I’ve been asked, “Oh, you are the ones that live next door to Kathleen?” This is correct. Other times, we’re asked, “Aren’t you the Hahn’s neighbors?” Yes, we are. We are often known because of who we live next to. In small towns, people know where to get a car fix, what plumber to call and what place has the best burgers in town.

Sometimes, it’s for these very reasons some people choose not to live in a small town. Some want to fly under the radar and do their own thing.

In small communities, there are often limited resources. Sometimes, people step in and make a difference to their community.

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This is Bob Saftig. He was my local grocer, that is, until last week, when he sold the business. For about 14 years, Bob has been one of Poynette’s 6th person in. He’s been one of the 12s in our community. He’s been a silent, yet important, presence that has made a significant impact in our little community.

Bob is more than just the guy who used to own the local Piggly Wiggly. He has been a huge supporter of the local Poynette Food Pantry and Blessings in a Backpack Program, which provides weekend food for kids who might not otherwise have enough food to eat. Both of these programs have made a huge difference in our community. There are lots and lots of people who are involved in these groups. While Bob’s role has been more behind-the-scenes, his contributions are just as important.

When Ruth Ann took over coordinating the local Food Pantry, Bob explained how to buy groceries based on sales. Many items are on sale on a regular rotation. When a product is on sale, stock up. Some sale items have a limited purchasing quantity. When soup is on sale for 3/$.99, a customer only gets the sale price for the first three cans they buy. If four cans of soup are purchased, the fourth can is at regular cost.

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This is where Bob understood how to be the 6th person in. If Blessings buys 120 cans of soup, there are 40 receipts for the soup. Three cans are rung up one at a time, so we get the sale price. Bob pays his workers to ring these up, which probably means he’s not making any money on this sale. But Bob wants to be one of the 12s for the Poynette community.

Through the Piggly Wiggly, needy families receive food baskets with a turkey at Thanksgiving and a ham food basket at Christmas. Bob and his staff work with our programs to keep food costs as low as possible. This means we can assist more people because Bob chooses to support his community.

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Thursday night, volunteers from our two groups gathered to say “thank you” to Bob. This was our little way of thanking Bob and the Piggly Wiggly for supporting our community. It surprised me to hear Bob share how he encouraged other grocery store owners to support their local groups like he does. However, they could not be convinced this made financial sense to them.

Bob attributes his parents for his attitude. Yet, Bob sets a great example for his employees. I’ve seen him moping the floor at the store, stocking shelves and doing whatever needed to be done. All to serve others.

Local businesses have lots of opportunities to be the 6th person in. We can choose to be a 12 in our local community. Thank you, Bob, for being these in our small community of Poynette. You’ve made a huge difference in many people’s lives.

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For Bob’s example of service, I am grateful.

Holy God – may we see a great opportunity to serve You and someone within our community today. I pray we see ourselves as one of the 12s in your kingdom, right where we are. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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