It always feels good to give to others…..
Last week I posted about Operation Spare Bottle in which my Sister organized. I was going to post yesterday, decided against it, then changed my mind and decided to share today because of the impact we made yesterday by providing COLD WATER and more importantly, ICE to those that needed and wanted it. Temperatures in Dallas easily soared above 100 degrees so the few hours we were out yesterday had nothing on the people that have to stay outside day after day.
After going to our “usual” spot at St. Paul/Corsicana in Downtown Dallas, we found two other groups were already there passing out water, sandwiches and in some cases, money. Yep. Money. That’s what I was told. Wow! That’s generosity. But yesterday was different. After we saw we weren’t giving out as much water as we did last week (due to the other two groups working the area,) we shifted gears. We headed for “Tent City.”
Tent City is a vacant area of land under the I-45 bridge (near Downtown Dallas) that some call home. There are tents scattered about with people from all walks of life who somehow got off track, lost jobs, lost families, lost everything. Some sleep in cars, some have makeshift pallets, a husband and wife had the luxury of having a pair of recliners to sit on despite the heat. Although we gave out our ice cold water, it seemed as though this group (unlike the group we encountered at our first stop) was more interested in the ICE we had than the ice cold water. I had four coolers of it and wished I had more. One woman who was an amputee asked for all the ice in one of my coolers. As much as I wanted to give it to her I told her in all fairness, I had to wait to see if others wanted some before I could let her have it. Dejected she slowly rolled away. When I did come to her with the ice I had left which was quite a bit, unbeknownst to me, I discovered she had a cooler full of lukewarm water with a package of cold cuts, cheese and other items that required refrigeration. “That’s why she wanted all the ice,” I thought to myself. I told her we would be back next week with more ice. She made me promise. That is one promise I can not and WILL NOT break. One man asked for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. “I’m sorry sir, we don’t have any food, just water,” I lamented. I wished I had one… just for him. It seemed as if it would have truly made his day. For some, it’s the little things.
As I walked through Tent City passing out water to those who were simply too hot and beaten by the sun to move, I thought about God’s goodness and grace. As I passed by one tent, I noticed an older gentleman sweeping the front entrance to his tent although his tent sat on dirt. Just because the tent sat on the dirt, didn’t mean the gentleman had to treat where he lives as such. That was his home, and his sweeping was very telling. A lot of the people were “proud “people. They didn’t want to be looked down upon or shunned. They don’t want people to come through their area showing pity on them. I’m positive they can spot those who are genuine and those who patronize them a mile away. I’m sure they didn’t see us like that. I stopped. I talked with them. They’re human and deserve to be treated with respect.
The irony of it all. We have the nerve to sit and complain over the simplest of things: “I don’t have anything to wear,” as you stare at a closet full of clothes. “This house is too small,” yet you have a roof over your head, “I’m tired of this broken down jalopy,” yet you have something to get you to and from that job you complain about daily. Stop people and think. If you saw what I saw and experienced what I experienced yesterday, you would be lifting your hands and praising God right now. As we live our selfish little existence, we wouldn’t last one day out there if we had to trade places with those that don’t have a choice but to make the best of what they have. As much as I would love to give more, I’m giving what I can. As I continue to give, I will be in a position to give more. And more. And MORE. And I can’t wait until that day comes.
I know I was supposed to post my next Financial Fitness post (#7 I believe) but I had to tell my story and deliver my message. GIVE BACK. Helping the homeless may not be your thing, but figure out in what way you can give back and make a difference. Don’t be so self-absorbed. It could be visiting the local nursing home, working with our youth, or even volunteering at your local animal shelter. Give when you can, where you can.
Remember. Kindness isn’t kindness if you’re expecting a reward. PAY IT FORWARD!!!
Project Spare bottle. Spread the word and spare a bottle. http://www.projectsparebottle.org
~The Financial Hack ©2015
NOTE* Thanks Eddie and Victoria for helping my Sis and me out this week.