Giving Thanks

We’re entering a season of reflection. A season of drawing together with friends and family. A season of thinking of more than just ourselves and finding ways to help others. A season of hoping for peace for all humanity.

As we count our blessings, sometimes it is the small things that can make a difference. A kind word given or received. Respect. Someone to listen. A chance to help by simply being present. Finding a place where people care. Being part of a place where people care.

Here are two stories from the past weeks.

Story 1:

A woman came to get food from the food pantry. When Darlene and Ed went to fill her food order, she requested that they omit any food that would come in a can. She was on foot and had a medical condition that meant she could not carry heavy bags of canned goods home with her, even though she needed the food.

Darlene and Ed couldn’t stand to watch her turn down more than half of the food that she was eligible to receive, so they made an exception to our usual policy and Ed drove her and her canned goods home.

Before she left Patchwork, the woman chatted with Dee for a little while, telling her about some of the good things happening in her life.

“Tomorrow I get my new teeth!” she happily called out to Dee as she started to leave with Ed.

“You’ll be a new woman!” replied Dee.

Story 2 (from Shawn):

A young woman came in this morning who was sent to us from Aurora.  She asked if she could take a shower and proceeded to tell me her story.  She and her husband have been living in their small car for weeks.

They are looking for an opening in the family shelter, but as of now the shelter is full.  Her husband just started a 3rd shift job last night working from 9 pm until 5 am.  She told me he was out in the car sleeping so he could be rested for his shift tonight.  Her husband has a bachelor’s degree a large student loan debt.  He hasn’t been able to find much work, and when he does it’s only jobs that don’t pay enough per hour for them to live on.

She is a recovering alcoholic and they have also been spending time at another local agency where she is able to receive counseling and attend AA meetings.  She feels hopeful that things will turn around for her and her husband if they can just get back on their feet. They are trying to survive by living in the car and by cutting back on food (usually eating only one meal a day at the soup kitchen).

She sat in the kitchen with me and talked while having a cup of coffee and a muffin from the food pantry for breakfast.  John S. gave her a few things to eat that she could take with her that wouldn’t require preparation, and as she left she told me how much she appreciated our help.

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One Response to Giving Thanks

  1. iymalive says:

    I was homeless for a time, beginning in the fall of 1992 until the spring of 1993, and was ever so grateful for all of the food pantry’s, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters that we made use of during those times, and since. Whenever people have times in their lives where they struggle, so many people cast blame and make assumptions. No one has a perfect life. Those of us who have struggles aren’t struggling out of some “payback” from God or the universe, we struggle because the world is not a perfect place. Everyone cannot have everything they need. There are not enough people willing to share their resources with everyone.

    It would be nice if I could say there were not enough resources to go around, but that is mostly not true. There is enough wealth, and food. Our nation does not have to have people that are hungry or in absolute poverty. But mostly because of greed and ignorance, the problem doesn’t get solved. It is, mostly, ignored by the mainstream media, which causes ignorance in the population that has the most power to effect change…those who vote and raise money, those who lobby lawmakers, and governmental leaders. Lawmakers control existing programs and could introduce new legislation that could change how we address the needs of the poor and hungry. Not that the problem can be legislated away, but along with legislation media attention could bring about those who have the greed problem, the corporate and wealthy in our population to be brought into the debate and encouraged to be generous by finding ways to make it to their advantage by using creative means to incentivize their donations.

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