Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Lesson About Giving From a Homeless Man and a Double Cheeseburger

By Jean Blackmer

The other day my husband, Zane, and I were returning a Redbox movie at a nearby McDonald’s restaurant. In the far corner of the parking lot a homeless man sat on the concrete curb. He was wearing scruffy layers of worn shirts, a ripped jacket, muddy boots, a black knit hat with his wiry gray hair poking out from underneath, and fingerless wool gloves. His head rested on his hands. As we drove closer we could see his shoulders moving up and down. He was sobbing and he kept wiping his eyes with his exposed fingers.

Our hearts broke. We decided to go to the organic grocery store next to McDonald’s (only in Boulder, right?) and buy him some healthy food. We bought a turkey and avocado sandwich on nine-grain whole wheat bread, an apple, coconut water, some nutritious snacks and a brownie, all neatly packed into a recyclable brown bag. We approached him and offered him this food.

“No thanks,” he said. We were baffled. Why in the world would he say no to this nutritious meal?

“Are you sure?” I asked as I tried to hand him the bag again.

“No, no thanks,” he said again.

Zane and I looked at each other and then Zane asked, “Well, okay, but is there anything we can do for you?”

“I just want a double cheeseburger,” he mumbled.

We went into McDonald’s and bought him a double cheeseburger.

He thanked us, sat down on the curb and ate.

In our sincere effort to feed this homeless man, 

we missed something important. 

We overlooked the simple act of asking him what would he like to eat. We assumed we knew best and didn’t consider his input. Of course, we know a cheeseburger is not a healthy choice, but meeting his need to put some food in his stomach and show him people care is the first step in doing acts of love and having compassion for those marginalized in our community. That’s what I learned from this dear man and a double cheeseburger: ask, listen then act wisely.

Unleashed! Giving to Our Communities.

Because of this, I’m so excited about the women at Flatirons and our project to fill gallon-sized bags with items needed for the homeless men and women in our community. We’ve taken the time to find out what they truly need, not just what we think they need, and give them these baggies filled with necessities to make their lives a little bit easier. More importantly, to assure them they are seen and cared about. We’re taking the first step. 

In case you’ve missed the details here’s what to do:

Fill - 2 one gallon-sized clear bags with the list of specific travel size items the shelters and ministries need to help the homeless.
  • Washcloth
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo/Body wash
  • Chapstick
  • Small packet of wipes
  • Black Socks
  • 5 Band-Aids
  • 2 Hand warmers
  • 5 Cough drops
  • 3 Tampons
  • Mini bottled water
  • Protein Bar
  • Handwritten note, Bible verse or words of encouragement

·       Bring - one back to your October IF Gathering Location  (click for details)

     Keep - one in your car and give it as the Lord leads. That’s it! Send us your stories because we're excited to hear the amazing things God is doing through you!

      P.S. If you would like to receive these weekly blogs please make sure to subscribe to the post or submit your email when you follow. You can see the options above the followers. Thanks!!

Jean Blackmer is married to Zane and mother to three boys. She’s authored three books, contributed content to more than 20 books, and written articles for a variety of magazines. She loves her family, chocolate, scuba diving and being outside as often as possible.

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