Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Hand Up

There are these 2 homeless men that wander around my Waterloo neighborhood picking up cans and bottles from the recycling bins and pulling things from the garbage that they may be able to sell. Every time they walk by when I am outside, they stop and say hi, calling me ma'am, saying thank you and God bless you. Honestly, these are the friendliest neighbors I've got.

Today I pull into the driveway and there they are, looking in my recycling bins while their shopping carts hang out on the street. We exchange pleasantries and they go to leave until it hits me, "Melissa, you have got to do more".

Now we have a home, food and a nice car, because of those choices we don't have many other resources but I do have a heart, a big one. So I asked the guys if they wanted to come back into my backyard to help me clean up the post-winter mess. Without any payment negotiations, they were heading back towards the gate with huge smiles on their faces. My kids and husband watched out the window as I hung out with David and James, cleaning up the trash, raking and sorting out broken toys from usable ones.

We talked about God, about homelessness, about our wonderful city and about my children. The entire time, my new friends had smiles on their faces and a spring in their steps. Towards the end of our clean up time, I asked them to wait outside while I went in for a few minutes. I packed up a bag full of apples, yogurt, 2 new toothbrushes and toothpaste, some bars of soap and a few sandwiches. Then I gave them each a $10 Tim Hortons card.

There was a hug and some tears, then David and James grabbed their carts off the front lawn and headed off down the street. While I don't feel like I did enough to change their lives, giving away a few things I had around the house is going to make a small difference and I gained two new friends in the process.

I wonder if James and David know just how big of an impact they made on my life today?

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