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Monday, August 22, 2011

Homeless Encounters of the Heavenly Kind

Interestingly, the weekend was filled with homeless encounters of the heavenly kind! On Saturday, our team was in front of Macy’s gaining $5 donations for the homeless in exchange for a Macy’s fundraising program booklet called, “Shop for a Cause.” In the hustle and bustle of busy shopper lives, all totaled, after talking to 100s of people and 100s of rejections, we received seven $5 donations from our team of four canvassing at two doors. In spite of all of the negativity and cold reception, “Rosemary” is one giver who will remain etched in our memories forever.

As she approached from the parking lot, we said, “Maam, would you like to donate $5 to help the homeless and then receive a passport to shop at Macy’s all day, Shop for a Cause and get 25 percent off everything?” She replied, “My name is Rosemary and I was nearly homeless at one time. I volunteer at a center that helps those with addictions. I would be happy to help out.” Next, she opened her purse and dumped out the last money she had in change. She said, “I don’t have any money, but I have a bunch of coins, it was going to be my laundry money. Here take it and use it for the homeless.”

Immediately we recognized her as the woman in Jesus’ story, you know the woman who in her poverty gave her last penny. Rosemary gave $5 in laundry quarters and her last nickels and pennies in the purse, totaling over five dollars in coins. We could only imagine how God smiled and saw the great heart of compassion modeled after his son.

On Sunday, after walking out of the front door of a grocery store, a petite, quite short and elderly woman approached asking for gas money. “Where is your car maam? Let’s go and get some gas.” I replied. After driving a couple of blocks to the Circle K, her late model and battered car barely made it to the station. As we pumped the gas a thought came to mind. “Maam, let’s offer this tank of gas for Ryan. He was 19 when he died last year of a lethal alcohol and drug mix-up at a friend’s house.” She was touched. After the gas was pumped she inquired, “I am so grateful! What can I do for you?” I replied, “How about praying for Ryan? He needs our prayers.” She agreed. We walked over to the Servants of the Father of Mercy car and loaded her up with many rosaries and Divine Mercy prayers cards for her and her family. Her sister is on life support in LA and she herself lives out of the car, sleeping on side streets each night.
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