Jody Masquefa and her husband, Yves, own a restaurant in Anaheim that’s now daily serving up hope in the form of pasta to families in dire need of support. February 2, 2017 marks a year of anonymous dinners being delivered to these families at CHOC hospital who are facing the devastation and hardship that illness has imposed on their children; this is the story of how they got here.
Over a year ago, The Masquefa’s daughter had a friend from school who was diagnosed with cancer, a friend named Dillan who was unknown by Jody but whose circumstance nonetheless touched her in such a profound way that prayer for his healing was the only fitting response. She began praying scripture over his health and his family, even reaching out to his mother and introducing herself as one who was praying over her son. Jody truly believed in her heart of hearts that this spiritual movement in her soul was meant for purpose, a purpose to intercede on Dillan’s behalf and bring healing to his sick body–but that intention was not God’s plan after all, as Dillan only continued to worsen.
January of last year a sermon series that has become an annual tradition at Eastside, “At The Movies”, was being kicked off with it’s first week featuring a lesson from the film: Saving Mr. Banks. Pastor Gene made a reference to Isaiah 43:18, “…see, I am doing a new thing!” In the midst of her demise toward God, deeply believing He’d never use her, Jody’s peace and perspective began to sprout once again.
Dillan passed on January 15, 2016, leaving a family without a beloved son, and Jody with a deep anger towards God where faith and expectancy once reigned. The day after this painful loss, Jody attended a women’s conference that promoted a future day of creating vision boards, she decided to go, knowing she was in need of a new word from God. That week at Eastside’s worship night, however, she received her word; More. Gene had everyone in attendance that evening stand in response to one of three seasons they may be experiencing with God, Jody stood for the last option, reserved for those who felt they had been faithful up to this point, but had the urge to do more.
The word kept resounding as Jody attended the vision board event, and although she was initially disappointed as the day appeared to have an arts and crafts theme, as she began peering through potential magazines and scraps of paper to be used for her board, a magazine entitled, “More” jumped out at her. Other significant pieces began to be apparent as well, and Jody succumbed to the arts and crafts project, losing herself in thought of what this could all mean.
She attended Dillan’s memorial that following week, getting the opportunity to speak with a lead nurse who had helped Dillan during his treatment at CHOC. Without plan or pre-conceived notion, Jody asked if she could anonymously drop off a meal to the hospital for a family in need of comfort. The nurse agreed and they set a date for February 2, Jody’s birthday.
This act of care that Jody had extended to Dillan’s family during their prolonged time at CHOC was now paving the way for other families to be taken care of in their own similar seasons of pain. Love Letters was born out of this season of confusion and desire for more when Jody started working closely with the staff of CHOC to deliver seven boxes a week to families in distress, each one being packaged up with a ”love letter” of encouragement and comfort.
Jody returned to the women’s group that had hosted the day of vision shortly after gaining momentum in the delivering of these food boxes. After sharing what God had been up to, she was approached by a husband and wife team with a company that helped to start up and support non-profit companies. The wife had been touched by Jody’s journey as she mentioned that her own father had been one of the men to help start CHOC, and offered to come alongside her in the creation of Love Letters as an official non-profit.
Since then, over 800 meals have been delivered to more than 360 families, with the current vision now being that one meal would be delivered everyday to each floor of CHOC. Love Letters Food Box was born out of a season of devastation, of questioning where God was in the midst of struggle and pain, but more was on the horizon for Jody, just as God has promised.