A Meal for our Neighbors

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Was down at Interfaith Sanctuary Shelter today for a meeting. At the end of the meeting, they blessed us with a food donation for the park. During the course of our conversation, it was mentioned that different people provide something for their guest to eat during the week, but nothing was provided on the weekends. They don’t have the ability to cook at the shelter at the present time. So, that wonderful donation they provided for us is being cooked up right now and will provide a meal for their quests tomorrow, Saturday night. If anyone is interested in going down and helping serve it up….let me know.

Don’t be quick to Judge

Our friends on the streets don’t always have the nicest things said about them. I have heard people say don’t help them they will never do for themselves. Don’t help, because they will just bleed you dry. They only take and have no desire to do anything else. The list goes on and on. Every time I hear someone speak words like this I feel my blood pressure rise and like a mom bear, I want to tear into them. I bite my tongue and try to calmly educate these people on those who’s home is the streets. Are there some like this on the streets….yes, but they are few and for the majority they are kind, loving and giving people.
Today in the park was a example of just how loving and giving our friends are. We served up our meal, when one of the men came over and held out his hand. “I want you to have this” he said. I looked and rolled up was what I that was a few bucks. I told him that I could not take his money. He said he was grateful for what we do in the park and said he insisted I take it. I once again said that I could not take his money and that it was our pleasure to come down and share a meal with him and we wanted nothing from him. His eyes started to tear up and said “Please take it, I have no home to cook food in and I would like for you to take it and use it for the meals here in the park. I want to know that I did something to help others. So, please take it.” So I gave him a big hug and thanked him. I placed the rolled up money in my pocket and didn’t look at it until later.
I stopped at the store on the way home from the park and as I was walking in, I remembered the money in my pocket. I thought I had better take it out and put it in my purse before I forget it about it. I took it out and unrolled it. I was floored, I stood in the middle of the store with tears rolling down my face. Freddy, one of the cashiers (he ministers to those with addictions, will have to tell you about him another time) was just going on break. He came over  and said “Hey sister what is wrong.” I held out my hand  and explained what happened in the park. Freddy smiled real big “Sister you have been blessed today.”
Our friends have come up before, wanting to help and contribute. They will hand you a buck or two, sometimes some change. Always insisting that you take it and when they walk away, they hold their head a little higher. No matter how little they have to give. They give to help others in a world that looks down on them. They give because in their hearts they want to know they made a difference and they give because they have love for others.
Today blew my mind though. As I stood there in the store with my hand held out crying, telling Freddy about the park, in my hand I had unrolled not just a buck or two…..but one hundred dollars. I could not comprehend for a moment as to why this man would give us this. I thought I can’t take this and I need to get it back to him. Honestly I was freaking out, why would this man on the streets give me this kind of money. Freddy calmly leaned over and said “Like I said you have been blessed and don’t forget the Good Lord will bless him back.”
So I still sit here in awe and disbelief of the gift this man gave us. I pray that his gift will be a blessings to many and that he will be blessed many times over. Thank you my fiend. I don’t know where you will lay your head tonight, but I ask that Lord hold you tight and his Angels look over you. Love you friend.DSCN1619

Her Paperback World

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I parked the car and started walking down the alley. There was a group of the guys there and stopped to talk to them. We laughed, joked and shared their company for a while. Through the group I could see her sitting there trying desperately to hide from the world. 

She is beautiful, young and I had seen her around before. She sits alone with her books, never looking or engaging with anyone. I watch her as the others talk to me and I wonder what lies beneath. What has life done to her and what hurts and pains is she trying to escape from. Her books that are so dear to her, are they her world that she runs too? A place she can sit alone and escape to, do they hold a world that she wishes she had? Does she read of a love she longs for? I have never seen anyone who has tried to close themselves off from the world as much as she does.

I try to speak to her and all I can get out of her is that she is okay. I so want to put my arms around her and hold her and tell her how much she is loved. I know she is not ready for that now. She has built walls so high that it will take time to break them down. I will continue to check on her, keep her in prayer and hopefully in time those walls will weaken and crumble.

School is starting

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It’s back to school time. Kids are running around the store looking for that perfect item to add to their list of school supplies. It interesting to watch them as they look for certain things or labels that they think will define who they are or what they think will make them look cool to the others. Then there are the others who don’t get to participate in the excitement of school shopping. They are just happy if they have anything at all to use during the school day. Some will use items from the previous year or they will use borrowed items. It breaks my heart that some will sit in class and listen to the excitment of others and sit in shame, thinking they are less than, because they do not have what others have. I pray that they realize that they are much more than these material items, these things do not define who they are.

Because of everyone’s generous giving, we have been able to do much more than the meal we provide in the park. Besides other things this year we will be sponsoring some kids and helping them with their school supplies. The kids we will be helping would have started school this Wednesday with little to nothing. Backpacks filled with school supplies will be delivered tomorrow. So I thank all of you for making the first day of school extra special for these children. How excited they are going to be and I just wish you could be there to see it all. Your love and generosity has touch so many in this community and each heart that is touched, is so very grateful. Thank You!

Little Girls…but Big Hearts

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What a great day in the park today. Thanks to everyone who came out to help. Rob and Jessica came down today with their girls Hannah and Bella. They had never been down to the park to help before and what a blessing it was to have them there. I could hear their sweet voices from the other end of the table and each time they spoke to our friends in the park, it brought a smile to my face.
“Would you like a bottle of water?”
“Would like a fork?”
“Can I get something for you?”
“Have a great day!”
Each word spoken with such caring and love towards our friends. Two little girls who could have been doing other things today, but instead gave a little of their time to love on those in need. There is a transformation that happens within our friends when kids are there. You see these hard men and women drop their hardened exteriors for a moment and this tender side comes out. I sometimes wonder if they are thinking of their own children or grandchildren they no longer get to see or haven’t seen in ages. So Hannah and Bella, thank you for the helping hands, the beautiful smiles you shared with our friends and most of all thank you for showing you care and loving on these wonderful people. Rob and Jessica, thanks for bringing the girl and all your help. Jerry and Jeremiah, I am always grateful for all you two do….thank you never seems to express it enough!

Ministry of Presence

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“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.”
 
– Henri Nouwen