Yesterday 25 people showed up to volunteer and “Help The Homeless.” When I mentioned that we incurred some extra costs this month, $125 quickly spilled forth from the crowd who had already spent many hours and their own money to bring sandwiches, contribute to care packs, and donate their old clothes.
This was in addition to the people who volunteered the night before to organize the U-haul full of donated clothes. (Yes, we had so many donation during December that we had to rent a Uhaul in addition to the Hugmobile and Jason’s truck.) And these were not just beat up old t-shirts. We had LOTS of new blankets, several sleeping bags, and tons of jackets.
Plus hundreds of sandwiches & nearly 300 care-packs (THANK YOU to everyone who donated! We are out of most bulk supplies, so expect a gentle request for extra $ soon.)
Every single item was given to us as a gesture of compassion.
Every single item was passed on to someone in need with compassion.
We visited the Alpha Project Winter Shelter, The 17th street day shelter, 2 bridge underpasses and several street corners. You certainly see a diverse scope of needs between all those groups.
When we set up at the Alpha project, we had so many clothes that we were able to set up a sort of temperary boutique. Each resident was able to “shop” for items they could use in their size..and that they actually wanted. Despite the old saying, it is nice to allow beggers to be choosers.
There was no judgement or pity – it was a day filled with Love and connection.
Several people report that they are energized by the 1st Saturdays outings. Personally I feel exhausted afterward – like a many-hour adrenalin rush finally releases me and I nearly collapse.
When I finished giving farewell hugs and waved goodbye (until next 1st Saturday), I came inside to learn about the shooting of 6 people in Arizona.
It felt like walking away from a campfire into the cold, dark night.
It is hard not to be frustrated. Ashamed. Angry.
And there is nothing wrong with those feelings – as long as we don’t live in them.
There is always space for Hope. There is always room for Love.
And during times like these, it is even more critical to remember this.
When the news fills with darkness, it is even more important to look for – and create – light.
No matter how much darkness and vileness humanity may be responsible for – we are the only ones in control over the vibration of our heart.
I send out endless love this day to all who are in pain. To all who are angry. I send love to those who call for violence. I send love to those who are so confused that they do not know the Love that surrounds them in every moment.
Yesterday I was confused, too.
The world was too dark.
In times like these, sometimes you need to limit the scope of the “world.”
“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”–Buddha
Sometimes you need to turn off the news and focus on the faces in your real life. Sometimes you need to focus on even the smallest of steps that you can make, personally, towards love and compassion. Maybe its a “smile and good morning” to a neighbor walking by. “Being the change” is small acts, too.
Of course, there is no such thing as small acts.
I don’t profess to understand the intricacies of politics or have any systemic solutions. But I do know that making a friend out of a stranger is a good thing. So is giving a sandwich to someone who is hungry. So is giving warmth to someone who is cold.
And so instead of dwelling in the frustration of the day, I have decided to focus on light…and warmth.
I want to give away 100 sleeping bags to people who are sleeping in the cold.
I think we can do it with $2500. (example of $25 bag)
I’d also like to explore the possibility of getting damaged bags donated by REI or a manufacturer. Plus, any used bags that we can get donated.
Want to help? Spread the word, collect $, Ask around. (Kickstarter campaign starting soon.)
Or simply spread warmth in YOUR world.
The world can be cold. But people like you and I can make it a little bit warmer. There are no small acts.
Jan. 9. 2011