Last night, I saw a post on Facebook from a friend asking for specific needs for a tight-knit homeless community in Montgomery. This tent city, along with the rest of the city, was bracing for freezing rain and supplies were running really low. In fact, she reported that one member of the community didn't have any warm clothes for the night. I didn't want to go to the store in the mess I knew today would be, but I couldn't help myself from asking my friend what the needs were.
I posted this picture on Facebook this morning—it is all the things I was able to get out of my house, brand new or nearly new, from the list of needs. I packed up my stuff and went to the Church where a group was gathering the supplies for the tent city. I included a few of our leftover Christmas candy canes, to remind tent city residents that the Good Shepherd always looks out for his flock.
The leader of the group's effort was thrilled with the two fishing poles and tackle boxes: given the proximity of the tent city to the river, the fishing poles and tackle will let a few of them catch fresh fish for meals.
In the car I started thinking. As part of our family's intentions for 2017, Mark and I decided to better use our time, treasure and talent to make our community better. All of a sudden I found myself steering my car to Winn-Dixie. I needed milk and laundry soap anyway. I purchased enough cans of vegetables and meat so each tent city resident had one can of each. I threw in two jars of peanut butter because it was buy one, get one.
I hope it makes a difference to these people, because I have some skin in the game. My father’s older brother, my Uncle Tommy, is a homeless resident of Atlanta. I won't share the "how" or "why," because his story is not mine to tell. Since I was a little girl my father and I have always gone to see him a few times per year, bringing him supplies. When I was driving to Winn-Dixie my mind flashed to the last time I saw Uncle Tommy, when he asked me about the twins and I showed him some pictures. Each tent city resident is someone's Uncle Tommy; I wouldn’t have felt right if I claim to intend to try to better use my family's time, talents and treasures to make our world a better place, but turn my back on the most basic need for the homeless in the winter.
"We have been created for greater things, to love and be loved."-- St. Theresa of Calcutta