"... and a little child shall lead the way."
One day, the kids and I were running errands when we came to a stop light where a hungry and homeless man was standing and asking for change. Normally, I'd grab some coins to give, but didn't have anything in our usual spot. I started fumbling around to find more change when he decided to move on down the line of cars. Before I could catch him, the light turned to green. There were a lot of cars waiting and we were at the very front of the line. I had to go.
As I pulled out into the street, JD asked me why I didn't give him any money. I told him that the light had turned green and that I couldn't wait until the man walked all the way back to our car. He replied, "But he's hungry." Then he set back in his chair and closed his eyes. I knew that he was on the brink of tears but trying to hold it together. "Can we turn around, mom?" I sighed because although this was possible, it would've been pretty complicated getting across multiple lanes of traffic... in rush hour! Not to mentioned that I was absolutely exhausted. I told him that we couldn't turn back and that I would try to make sure to have something available to give next time.
I knew it wasn't enough and I felt bad. No, I probably won't always have something available but if I make a conscious effort, maybe I could almost always have something... My husband has explained to me the importance of not digging into your purse in front of a homeless or poor person (anyone you don't know, really). It's not safe and they could be desperate enough to harm you or take your entire purse. It doesn't mean that you can't give anything, you just have to cautious and give what is easily reachable.
A nagging feeling continue to naw at me on the way home. You know.. the kind that causes you to pause and take a good look at yourself. This was me. Soon after, my sister later mentioned an idea that our mother has used in the past. She would bring snacks in the car for my siblings to eat, when picking them up from school. Granola bars, fruit snacks, cookies, chips, etc. On one particular day, they came across a hungry and homeless person asking for money to get food. She asked my siblings if they would like to give him one of the snacks they kept in the car. The kids selected what they wanted to share (it was a closed packaged snack, of course) and then passed it to my mom, who handed it to the man and wished him a blessed day.
This memory struck a chord with me and the excitement of this idea grew. This was something that the kids and I could totally do! It was a direct link of them being able to give to someone they saw in need. Someone who was without a home. Someone who didn't have a job. Someone who was hungry. It would make them feel good to help and it would give food to another who may not know when their next meal would come.
I told the kids of what granny did. They were so excited and wanted to start right away. We stopped at a nearby store where the kids went up and down the aisle getting crackers, cookies, fruit snacks, granola bars, rice crispy treats, peanuts, and more. After paying for our selections, we headed home and piled all of our goodies into our "Don't Be Hungry" box (named by the kids) and set it by the back door to take to the car.
There is a peace that comes with doing what you can. Not trying to go beyond your means and then finding yourself bitter or angry or resentful... just starting right where you are. We hope that those who are homeless will be able to find a permanent home and a job to provide for their needs but for now, my little group is on a mission to make sure that those they come across have a little something to eat. This act of kindness may be small, compared to others, but it's from their heart... that makes it immeasurable. This mommy couldn't be prouder. :)
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