July 8, 2011
-- Redwood Gospel Mission issued the challenge – one month of collecting change each day to feed the homeless. I decided to meet that challenge and run with it!
At the beginning of May, a can was opened in the kitchen and change was placed into it daily. By mid-month the accumulated tally was a total of $7.49 – about 4 meals, or one full day plus one additional meal.
Initially, it was rewarding to know that this small amount of change, which would not be missed by me, would play a small part in improving the condition of someone in need. However, the Lord tugged at my heartstrings and brought to mind that the ultimate goal was a better understanding of the needs of others, and an appreciation of the way He meets (and exceeds!) my personal, daily needs enabling me to become His tool to bless others.
I considered: What does $7.49 really mean for someone who is homeless? It means that during this 14-day period, a woman could basically have 4 hot meals or one really good day plus breakfast. But it also meant that for most of those 2 weeks, she would be without any meals, and every evening would be under the stars. Rapidly it became clear to me that the four walls and roof sheltering me, as well as the three-meals-
a-day have been taken for granted over the past years.
Later in May I had scheduled a business trip, and I was inspired to “up the ante” – instead of saving just spare coins, which would not travel well at all, I chose single dollar bills. The blessings were two-fold: the post-trip tally was $19, and I was a bit closer to walking in the shoes of my homeless brothers and sisters. In the same way that a homeless woman is a stranger to her own community, I was a stranger in an unfamiliar city, dependent on the accommodations and meals that others provided. Of course, my situation was much easier, because I was clean and well-fed. How difficult it would be to interact with anyone, much less receive assistance, if I was dirty and hungry!
So this spring’s Spare Change Challenge dealt me a new perspective and ultimately resulted in $26.49 or about 15 meals for a homeless woman. Of course, homeless needs are ongoing and so the Redwood Gospel Mission challenge continues. I was moved to make the “spare change habit” that I had experimented with over the last thirty days into a new, permanent habit. If you are interested in taking the Redwood Gospel Mission challenge this summer, or creating your own twist on the challenge as you travel, please visit the Give page www.srmission.org/
give.html and look under “Creative Ways to Give” for details.
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Founded in 1963, the Redwood Gospel Mission mobilizes our community to minister to the needy so lives are transformed. Groups/individuals can design meaningful opportunities to serve. Emergency Shelters, Residential Recovery, a Thrift Store, and Events.