We can feed the hungry in many ways: Giving donations to local food banks, helping out during food drives and even making and baking for area soup kitchens. But during the Jubilee of Mercy, it is also time to think outside the box.
I am going to shine a light on my husband’s good deeds for a moment. When we were dating, we were walking the streets of Ann Arbor on a date. A homeless man was begging for change on one of the corners. He turned to me and said, “I know this might sound weird, but I am going to ask that man if he wants to get a coffee at the shop nearby. Is that OK with you?” I was a bit shocked. And I said yes, that was fine.
The man did take us up on the offer, and we spent an hour with the man. I was immediately humbled and impressed at my then-boyfriend. Wow, he invites homeless men for coffee! I never, ever thought to do that!
Well, we talked about it on the ride home (he told me to never mention it to anyone! Oops!) He told me he doesn’t like to give money. Instead, he will give any leftovers he is carrying, or invite the person for a cup of coffee/a sandwich/etc. I was in awe at the selflessness this man portrayed. It inspired me.
However, he warned me to never do that, as I am a woman. Wait, WHAT?! The feminist in me started to grumble ….
He was right. I am a woman, and sometimes I need to protect myself more.
BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t donate my leftovers, or go into a shop and just buy a coffee or sandwich for someone and give it to them. I can do things that make me feel safe, but still give back as much as possible in individual situations.
On the blog Catholic Sistas, I was inspired by preloaded gift cards to give out. And that gave me another idea: Small care packages. I went to Target and got some pantry staples: granola bars, bags of nuts, cracker sandwiches and tissues (everyone needs tissues.) I also put a $5 Subway card in the bag. I have a few care packages without the gift cards, because I still think they are important to give out, when I can’t afford a bunch of Subway cards.
What are some unique ways do you help feed the hungry? Have you tried anything during this Jubilee of Mercy?