Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So Humbled...

We went to the Portland Rescue Mission tonight to help serve food to our City's hungry. It was awesome and heartbreaking at the same time. I am humbled to have had the privilege to serve the people there who are down on their luck.

Here's what I learned....

Switch Blade is a young mother of a 2 year old and a new born. Her boyfriend, the kids dad, just got out of jail but they can't live together, as a family, because of their housing requirements. She says she feels like she's a single mom, doing everything by herself. They eat at the Mission because there is never enough money to feed everyone. I packaged up extra noodles and bread so she could have something to feed her daughter later on tonight.

Then there was Cindy. She said she had a job and lives in a shelter. Sadly she can't have kids where she lives, so her 4 year old daughter lives with her sister. She says she has money, but by the end of the month there's nothing left. She said this was her first meal of the day, at 7:00pm tonight.

Then there was this man ~ don't know his name. I tried to offer some water and bread and he just looks at me with eyes that were so piercing...mean and violent. He clearly did not want to be disturbed and wanted to be left alone.

Then I saw this beautiful woman and I wondered why she was there. She had a coloring book on the table with crayons. I first thought she might have a child who would be joining her. I soon realized that she was not much more than a child herself. So beautiful and innocent. I wondered how in the world does she take care of herself, on the cruel streets of Portland.

Then there was T-Bone. The life of the party! Wanted to be the center of attention. Laughing and joking with everyone!

Toward the end of the evening, I saw this little man. he was so quite and almost folded into him self. Nobody was paying him any attention. Finally I asked if he had eaten yet. He said no and mentioned that he had been there awhile. So I quickly got him his food, poured his water and added a cup of hot coffee. When I finally got everything to him, he just looked up at me and gave me a great big smile and said "Bless you"!!!

I truly loved being there and doing what I could, to be of some comfort to others. It was an awesome experience. But I also felt so ashamed of myself that here are people who don't have enough food to, go hungry daily and worry about where their next meal is coming from and well I, obviously have more than my fair share and then some......I spend so much of my time, energy and effort on trying to figure out why I eat so much, how I can eat less blah...blah...blah. And they spend ALL their time trying to figure out how to feed their body so they won't die.

I watched these beautiful people leave with their whole world on their backs, wished them a good night and lifted silent prayers to the Lord, to keep them safe, knowing that I will drive home in my comfortable car, to my beautiful home, with my loving family and my fridge full of everything. Lacking, needing or wanting for nothing....

I am humbled.....


  1. If we all did this weekly, I bet we'd reach goal a lot quicker, spend far less time and energy at the grocery store and give more of our resources to those who need it to live. Reminded me of a meditation in Linda Spangle's, "100 Days of Weight Loss" that discusses food as fuel or food as a filler. For me, it's often a filler because I've long since eaten all I need for fuel. For those folks, it rarely ever gets past fuel!

    Oh, the lessons we should learn. Thanks Joy, for this post.

  2. Thank you for this post. As a social worker, I felt as though I was with you at the mission. I can see and feel what you did. Until we get out into the world of the less fortunate, we don't have a clue about what their daily struggles are like. Those experiences have always put my weight struggles into perspective, and made me wonder why I have spent so many of my waking hours worrying about my food intake. As a matter of fact, I feel that way right now--a big light bulb has gone off for me. It makes me put into perspective how I am working my weight loss program.

    I retired a couple of years ago, and I think I need to take some of the time and energy that I spend thinking about how fat I am and put it to better use. I would probably be a lot thinner--if that makes any sense.

  3. Thank you! For your courage, your spirit, and reminding us what really matters. XOXOX

  4. Your post brings back special memories for me too. I spent about a year volunteering every Tuesday night at the local homeless shelter for the dinner meal. It was heartbreaking. Especially seeing the children. Makes you so grateful for the things you have, ashamed for always seeming to want *more*, and humbled to know that under different circumstances, that could be any of us. We can donate money and food (these shelters desperately need it) but when we donate our time to serve these people in person, it is truly a life-changing experience, and we'll never be the same.

  5. This was such a thought provoking post. I'm glad you wrote about this.