As many of you are aware, Saturday morning I stopped over at the Grace Lutheran Church on Jefferson Avenue in York City to deliver the donations that I collected to Kim’s church (again, thank you so much to everyone who donated.) We had a wonderful assortment of goods that I was able to drop off from turkeys and boxed/canned foods to winter clothing and blankets. Based solely on the hour I was able to stay, sort and organize some of the goods, I think that what my friends helped collect is going to make some individuals and families holidays that much warmer and enjoyable. However, most notably for myself, I received some insightful words of wisdom from someone who I thought that I was there to help, that I would like to pass on.
When I first arrived at the church I saw Kim, waiting by the loading “dock” right at the time we agreed upon earlier that week, gloves on hands, ready to unload the jam-packed truck and take care of some charitable business. We got to talking while unloading the truck and she let me know about a man that had already got her attention when she first arrived at the church and that he had asked when and if they were going to be doing the clothes exchange that day. He told her that if they were to remember him because he’s going to be waiting outside all morning until the church opens and that he could really use a new warm jacket. He wanted her to know how dedicated and patient he was going to be. I remembered seeing a man standing out on the corner in front of the church on that cold 18 degree morning, I thought it had to have been the same guy I had passed about thirty minutes earlier.
We get setup to unload the clothes and blankets on some tables after unloading all of the food into the kitchen and we let the gentleman into the church, offering him some hot tea/coffee and a space to warm up from the bitter weather outside. With some help from Kim?s family members (forgive me for not tagging) we are able to sort out and somewhat organize all of the clothes that were donated along with what was already down there but at the same time looking for something that would fit the gentleman joining us from the cold. I believe it was Kim that found a jacket that would be perfect fit for him. Let me just say, the amount of immediate appreciation from this man was incredibly warming. While trying the jacket on, with no concern or comment for the condition, color, pattern or feel, he shared with us some of his story; surgeries needed, sports teams loved (he was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan), we joked about me liking the Eagles (I?m pretty sure he tried to convince me that Dallas had a better record), the blindness issue he was having in one eye, and so on… The jacket was a perfect fit and he was extremely thankful, continuing on engaging us all in conversation, asking us questions about ourselves, telling a little about himself and just enjoying the company and warmth. Now what really brought everything full circle for me was what I heard just a few moments later. Kim found what she thought would be a very warm and nice sweater for him and with some excitement in her voice asked him to try it on. Now this is what got to me. His reaction and response to Kim. He said, in the most humbling of tones, ?Now what am I going to do with more than what I need??
I?m not going to go into why that means anything to me, but just that it does and I thought that it just might do something similar for someone else. I am so thankful to have had that experience Saturday morning – so thank you to Kim and all of my friends who helped pack a truck that got me over to the church. At the end of the day I can’t help but stress the importance of doing your best to keep your community clean, safe and attempt to be a part of it at whatever level you can. Especially with everything that is going on in the news/world within the last 24 hours; be committed to your town, it?s where you live, it’s where you do your business, the streets you walk and the people you can count on…
Happy Holidays All