So, there’s been 4" (10cm) of rain here in the last 3 days - more
this weekend. Yesterday afternoon I left, trying to beat the next
wave. Sure enough, it was starting up again - it was wet. And there,
standing outside the drugstore, was Booker. Booker is mentally ill,
and he lives on that little patch of sidewalk, right in the middle of
downtown San Francisco - he has for 25 years, that I know of. As I
walked by him he squawked something unintelligible at me. He knows
that I’m not going to support him - he also knows I’m not going to
let him starve to death. So I gave him a $5 bill - nothing to me, a
full belly for the night to him. The squawking was his way of saying,
“Please help me, it’s miserable out here and nobody’s filling my
change cup because they’re all inside…”
I went to the grocery store a few months ago, and they had
post-holiday frozen turkeys for 5 cents a pound - that’s like $5 for
a turkey. I bought two of them and gave one to the church next door.
Lately there are more and more news stories of people saying, “I
never thought I’d be in a place like this (a soup kitchen), but I
can’t feed my kids.”
The point of all of this is not that I (or we) are great
philanthropists - the point is that we are NOT great philanthropists.
All it takes is an awareness that we are not alone, and that it could
be us without a loaf of bread some time. We have a large annual
party, and we ask everyone to bring a food donation. I gave it to two
nice women sitting at a card table outside the store - they were
astonished, though it wasn’t that much food, and said it was WAY
better than money.
A jar of peanut butter can make lunch for 10 kids. A sack of
potatoes that cost $3 can feed 25 people - a bag of rice is dirt
cheap. Fill up a sack of groceries, and if you can’t find a food
bank just drop it off at any church - they’ll know what to do.
We all have less - those who’ve always had less may have nothing,
now. Times are hard, don’t be the same.