Thursday, August 2, 2012

Will Work for Food

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This morning, I saw a man standing on the corner of a busy intersection, holding out a cardboard sign that said, "Will Work for Food" in black marker.  Every time I see someone like this, my heart instantly pinches up.  It breaks my heart to see anyone hungry, and in this current economy, with crops dying of drought, the hungry will only become hungrier.  When I see someone offering to work for food, it's all I can do not to invite him over to my house to cook up a huge batch of something homemade for a meal and for leftovers to go.  I realize that, as a woman, I simply cannot be inviting strangers into my house, and that only makes my heart feel even more pinchy.  

But when I saw that man today, with his messy hair and too-big clothing, I nearly broke down in tears.  I was five minutes from my workplace, and I wanted to turn my car around to go home and make this man an overflowing pot of spaghetti.  And while I was internally lamenting my inability to ditch my day job for an apron and stack of recipes, I remembered a Pin in my feed yesterday:

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Blessing Bags.  An utterly genius - and empathetic and empowering - idea.  A bag of helpful items to feed and better someone's life.  A helping hand in a ziploc.

Some twenty years ago, a similar man was standing on a busy corner with a similar sign.  My family was on our way home from a picnic in a local park, and we had leftovers tucked away in a cooler in our car.  When my dad saw this man, he instantly rolled down his window to hand the man all our leftover fried chicken, oranges, and cans of cold soda.  Twenty years later, and I have not forgotten the look on that man's face.  He was instantly overjoyed and lit up with a smile.  He said a million thank yous to us as we continued handing him food through the window.

These days, when I'm up at night, worrying about budgets and finances and plans for the future, it's easy to forget that others are in much more fragile situations.  Others would be delighted to receive something as simple as a plastic bag filled with nourishment.

I have a new project to focus on.  One that makes my heart feel light.