Monday, December 17, 2012

Watch Out For The Poor

This is what Micah says to me the other day.  Each day on on our way to school we stop at the exact same intersection. And every day there is a person standing there with a sign asking for help.  The people change - but we consistently see the same 3-4 men.  At least once a week Micah asks what we can give them as we sit waiting for the light to turn green.  Usually I answer with, "well, we don't have anything to give them. We could bring a bar next time." But of course I always forget.  I came to dread this intersection because I would usually be the first person in line at the stop light, sitting right next tothem the entire time.  I would smile and give a little nod, but that was it.

Then on Facebook, I saw a post by someone who works with the homeless population about needing disposable hand warmers.  And of course the next time I was in Costco I walked right by a display of hand warmers.  After looking at them for a few minutes, trying to decide between hand or foot warmers, I threw one in the cart.  Then I added a box of individually wrapped crackers.  When I picked Micah up from school that day I told him I finally had something we could hand out.

The next day before getting into the car, I made sure to have a stack of hand warmers and crackers all ready to go.  As we got to the usual intersection, my stomach was a little nervous, what if they didn't want the crackers? What if they were allergic to peanuts? I really hate this!  But of course all of my worry was for naught, as no one was there. Seriously, this was the first time all year no one stood on the corner.

I dropped the boys off and went a different way to preschool because I knew of another popular spot for people needing food.  I was so proud of myself for figuring this out, until I got to the intersection and realized I was on the wrong side of the street. Apart from rolling down my window, yelling at the man, and the stopping traffic so he could cross to me, I didn't see how I would get the crackers and hand warmers to him. So, I just drove on.

That afternoon Micah got into the car and yelled, "watch out for the poor". What? I asked him.  "You know, the poor who stand on the corner, we need to give them our stuff".  And of course we did not find any on the way home that day either.

Finally, several days after buying our supplies, and being on the look out for the poor, we finally stopped at a red light next to a man with a sign.  I rolled down the window and handed him several packages of crackers and hand warmers.

With a smile, the man took what I offered and said, "thank you".  The boys in the back were all yelling, hi!, as we pulled away (and ran over the curb in my haste to leave).  I have to say that made my day. While I pull up and nervously avoid eye contact, or timidly hold out my meager crackers, my boys are joyfully greeting this man.  Instead of embarrassment or nervousness, they are excited to be helping.

It is now their favorite thing to do in the car, to look for "the poor". And then to roll down our windows and hand out our offerings.  We are truly blessed.


Alisha said...

Oh, Amy, Thanks for sharing this! You've given me courage to maybe someday try that. (Though good thing Micah wasn't with you that one time, or you might have ended up stopping traffic and yelling across the street.)

Jenny said...

What a smart idea to have those things in the car with you! My New Years Resolution is to be more kind, and I was thinking I should come up with something to give the people on the street. I see them literally every day on my commute.