Drugs, Poverty, and Thankfulness
November 25, 2012
On Thanksgiving morning, my inlaws, Taylor, Beckett, and I all headed downtown to help out with a community outreach event put on by a local ministry. There was an abundance of food, clothing, haircuts, and nail painting. It was a day to give to the community – specifically the lower income and homeless families in the area.
My favorite part of the day?
The people putting on this shindig.
They were men and women from Outcry in the Barrio, a recovery ministry and program for drug and alcohol addicts.
Recovering drug addicts serving homeless families. Helping them pick out shoes. Helping them find the right size shirt for their daughters. Serving pumpkin pie.
It was incredible and completely humbling.
As I pushed my Baby Gap outfitted 15 month old in his several-hundred-dollar jogging stroller, I watched family after family, mom after mom, dad after dad, stand in line for hours on Thanksgiving Day to get new clothes for their kids. New, of course, being others’ rejects. Some being my rejects. (Remind me again why I had such a hard time deciding whether or not I should keep that blue shirt I haven’t worn it in 4 years?)
I watched grown men grin from ear to ear as they carried away their new pair of cowboy boots. Little girls showing off their new dresses. Little boys scarfing down some Turkey Day stuffing.
I talked with Rick, an Outcry resident. It was his 3rd day back in the program and we talked about how much he needs Jesus to change his life. He’s relying on Jesus to pick up the pieces of his life and put them back together in a beautiful way.
We had this conversation, of course, as he carried on with his job for the day – to guard all the belongings of the homeless men and women while they ate a warm Thanksgiving meal.
It was a holy day and I’m so thankful to have been a part of it.
But now Thanksgiving is done, and now it’s time to do some hardcore shopping.
Except the events from Thursday made Black Friday completely nauseating. And my Christmas list? I just threw up a little bit thinking about it.
So instead of feel guilty for the whole Christmas season, I made action items for myself that may also be beneficial to you:
1. Get involved. Meet people in need around you. Be informed. See http://benjaminfulfer.com/. He’ll keep you informed.
2. Gifts are from God, Christmas is about giving, and Jesus was the greatest gift. So if Christmas = gifts, let’s shop with purpose.
There are so many amazing stores around that help people in need through our purchases. TOMS is pretty famous, and you know they give a pair of shoes for every pair you buy, but they aren’t the only ones. Below are a few more.
Who else? Do tell.
The moral of this post: drug addiction sucks. Poverty is the worst. Ignorance is not bliss. Consumerism is taking over. Jesus is the answer. Shop for change at Christmas.
Thank you for listening and goodbye for now. I’ve got some Kohl’s cash to use. Just kidding.
(But seriously – $15! Aside from a store whose proceeds directly help orphans in Uganda, Kohl’s is definitely the best.)