#OperationStarfish

As I consider the holiday season at hand and all the homeless  people I would like to take a Christmas tree, a bag of food, and a new sleeping bag to, I feel the weight of this thought process… Seriously THIS keeps me up at night – sure I can make a difference for one; I get that. But I want to help them all, and can’t.

What I CAN do (beyond the few that I can go help…) is to use my WORDS. I totally believe if every person reaches out to one other person, we could make a HUGE dent and THIS holiday season could be EPIC out in the streets!!! WHY NOT?

So, here is a list of possible ideas for those of you (like me) who don’t have a lot to work with this holiday season –  *Fill up a bag with personal items for a man or woman ~ easy. Dollar store. Soap. Toothbrush/toothbrush. Socks. Hairbrush. Bandaids. Candy. Paper. Pen. (yes Dollar Stores have just about every item anyone would like to have in a bag….be creative and fun too. Spend a mere 10.00 or more if you can. Don’t let an ‘amount’ be a reason NOT to. ) *Do you bake at the holidays? Bake an extra plate of cookies for someone; an extra pie; an extra few containers of food. *Depending on where you live, depends on IF you see homeless people – Baltimore, Atlanta, New York City, LA are all big cities where there are for sure LOTS of homeless people that are hungry and cold, and you straight up go right into the streets! In smaller towns there are soup kitchens, missions where you could donate some bags of food they could cook with – or homemade treats to distribute. *If in doubt, fill a bag with socks, neck scarfs, mittens…(again, at the Dollar Store). *Buy some hot cups of coffee or hot chocolate, and a box of donuts. *Make a pot of chili and take some bowls – serve out of your car.  *Get your church involved with you – (power of multiplication!) – youth group – your kids – your local stores – take advantage of the fact that we as humans ARE basically NICE. Sometimes we don’t do something, only because we don’t know WHAT to do. *Don’t forget those in need who are NOT homeless and just need a helping hand. Take a name off an angel tree. *If you LOVE to sing/ perform – well, here’s your sign! Go sing to people who will be your BEST and most appreciative audience. *Go Christmas caroling. (free.) – and X a million other ideas you probably will think of yourself.

Yes you will feel overwhelmed to see SO many needy people. YES you will feel like WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. YES you will realize you can’t save the world.starfish story  We just need to do our small part.

So, this holiday season of 2014 – reach out to one person in need; one ‘starfish’ on the great shoreline of life. I think I shall christen this ~ OPERATION STARFISH. 🙂

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#IfItWasYou

 

 A few weeks ago we went with some people to serve hot food, and give out blankets to homeless people. All I can say is, it felt like a drop in a bucket. I cannot shake it from my mind, nor do I want to. I don’t want to forget.

One older man in a wheelchair couldn’t get to the food line; he was off to the side of the street. When someone went to get him food, and asked him his name , he paused…and sadly said…”I don’t know. No one has asked me that for such a long time.” No, I don’t want to forget.

Another lady whom someone hugged, was overcome with emotion as she tearfully said how she couldn’t remember the last time anyone hugged her. No, I don’t want to forget.

On a different day, when I was going on a fun road trip with a friend, a cardboard sign caught my eye that said – Help me. My heart was moved by the sad look on the young man’s face holding the sign. We turned around and brought him hot food. We parked the car, and walked up to him, which sadly scared him. He turned abruptly to us with an anxious look and said “Am I in trouble?” It was so sad to hear his story of being a homeless veteran of war, with many physical and mental issues. No. I don’t want to forget.

. I want to care for each and every person I see, who is standing on the side of the road holding a sign that says Hungry. Or Help me. Or Homeless. I have heard people say that you can’t tell who really needs help, and some people don’t deserve help. WHAT????? Since when is helping someone contingent on whether or not they deserve it. We ALL could be the man who can’t remember his name, or the lady who never gets hugged, or the desperate single mom with 3 young girls who has no home, or the man standing in the snow hoping for a hot cup of coffee.

Image Please join me in reaching out to the forgotten, the broken, the hopeless, the ones who feel invisible, who are cold, and hungry . One cup of coffee at a time. One hug at a time. One blanket at a time. One encouraging word at a time. One smile at a time. And, IF you are able to do more, feel free. We all can do something, whether small or large…it WILL matter to someone. No, you may not be able to change the world, but you CAN change ONE life.

I want to see their faces in every stranger I pass today, and every day thereafter. No, I don’t want to forget.