I've come across those who believe that people who use food banks, soup kitchens, and drop-ins are users, and simply want anything and everything they can get for nothing. One only needs to be at a conference or anywhere during a time when free samples are given away to see this isn't specific to any socioeconomic group. People who take everything they can, as well as people who are kind, generous, and concerned for others, come from all walks of life.
Recently one of the regulars at the Oak Table made sure he caught my attention while he in lined up to sign in for lunch. Once he finished signing in, he immediately came over to me, pulling a rolling suitcase along behind him. He said, "I brought this in because I want to make a donation." Inside the suitcase was a freshly washed blanket and a dozen pairs of clean, neatly folded socks. We receive a lot of donations at Oak Table. People often drop off food, hygiene items, seasonal clothing and footwear. All are needed and welcome, but none touch me as deeply as when one of the people who uses our service donates something. It means they understand that when you have more than you need, you share with others.
The gentleman with the suitcase making the donation is presently living without a home. For the most part he lives on the street and from time to time, couch surfs at a friends. He tells me it's been a long time since he's had his own place. He has been on a list for four years. He is hopeful he will get something soon. When he gets a place, he says he won't tell anyone where he lives so they can't mess it up for him. Knowing the loving nature of this man, this will not likely happen. If someone needs a place to stay, I expect he will open his door to someone else in need.
The small sacrifices of the poor mean so much.