Thread: What is wealth?
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Old November 17, 2000, 07:30 PM
Dan Butler
Posts: n/a
Default Re: More Lessons on Wealth Everyday...

Amber --

Your note reminded me of a special woman we used to have interaction with. She ran a food ministry that catered to the people that others forgot. Many of the food pantries and such will not help some families that make over a certain amount or have a steady job. The very families that a little help would make all the difference.

When we would visit Irene she would always send us home with lots of food. A box of tomatoes, cantalopes, or whatever. I would always beg off since we didn't need the help and I didn't want to take food that could go to someone else. She would insist and I would take the food home. It was always a big event when I would arrive and all the kids be digging through to see what she had sent us. I would think about a family that was truly in need. How exciting would some unexpected food be to them?

It turns out that Irene received so much food that she would have to throw much of it away as it would go bad before she could pass it on.

We gave her our second car when she needed a reliable vehicle to deliver her goods. After loading the car up she was driving down the street and felt led to stop at a certain house. She went to the door not knowing why and after talking with the people briefly asked if they could use some food. The lady at the door started crying and said yes. Imagine her surprise when Irene opened her trunk and brought boxes of groceries into their home. That's the kind of lady she was.

Irene died last year. We still miss her. She taught my family a lot.

-- Dan Butler

> Julie,

> Thank you for sharing your experience. It
> brought to mind something that happened to
> me once upon a time that helped to deepen my
> appreciation for my abundant portion in
> life.

> A few years ago, we were preparing to move
> to a new home that we had custom
> built...just outside of the city limits. I
> was feeling on top of the world.

> Wanting to pack less 'stuff', I was hauling
> a lot of it out to the edge of the driveway
> where the garbage collectors would pick it
> up the following day. (Those were the days
> before ebay!) ;)

> While taking a coffee break, I happened to
> gaze out the window in my kitchen and saw a
> young couple and their
> almost-ancient-totally-rusted- out-pick-up
> truck parked on the curb...near my pile of
> garbage.

> We lived in a semi-upscale part of town so
> it was unusual to see people in tattered
> clothes and old rusty vehicles stopped in
> our neighborhood. And picking through
> garbage cans!

> Mixed in with the other stuff I was
> discarding, I had cleaned out our fridge and
> a leftover box of Kentucky Fried Chicken
> (just a couple of skimpy pieces or so) was
> sticking out of one of the garbage
> containers.

> But the fried chicken scraps had been in the
> garbage can for over 24 hours at that point
> and weren't fit for human consumption.
> Ugggg....

> When I noticed them pulling that from the
> garbage, I ran outside and approached them.
> They were very soft spoken and polite...said
> they were looking for old toys for their
> baby and they motioned to a infant cradled
> in a blanket, lying on the seat inside the
> old rusty truck.

> But, something in my heart told me that
> wasn't the truth. They were hungry and
> willing to pick scraps out of the garbage to
> satisfy their needs.
> They appeared to me to be malnourished by
> the appearance of their way-too-thin bodies.

> I was actually sickened when I realized that
> they were really going to eat food that had
> been in my garbage.

> At that moment, my thoughts turned to the
> abundance of our own bounty of food...just a
> few feet away from that curb. I told them to
> wait while I went back inside and looked at
> the hundreds of toys that my boys had
> stuffed into chests and closets and found a
> few that were suitable for a very young
> child.

> Then I went to the kitchen with a huge
> canvas bag and filled it with the contents
> of our pantry. Tuna, salmon, soup, even
> Spam! Anything they could open and eat
> without cooking. I put a few toys on top
> before I pulled the draw string.

> Then, with all my might, I pulled the large
> bag out the door and down to the street
> where the couple were waiting as I had asked
> them to.

> There wasn't really any mention made of all
> the food...just said that we were moving
> soon and I wanted to share my surplus of
> items with them.

> The look of sincere gratitude in their eyes
> said it all.

> They thanked me, asked God to bless me...
> and drove away.

> But that day remains alive in my memory as
> if it were only yesterday. It really led me
> to ponder what it would be like to be
> hungry...really hungry. And how the hunger
> pains would feel if I weren't able to go to
> the kitchen and satisfy that hunger. If I
> had to go to sleep with that discomfort.

> That was a life changing day for me.

> Yes, there are food banks, but often times
> they don't have a lot of food to give
> out...except for the holiday periods when
> people feel more generous in the spirit of
> the season... and contribute to those
> sources.

> But people need to eat everyday!

> I have always believed that there are no
> accidents in life and that everything
> happens for a reason.

> Since that day, I have felt differently
> about hunger in the world...and right here
> in this prosperous nation of the United
> States, there are children who go to bed at
> night without any food.

> There are many celebrities, Garth Brooks and
> Melanie Griffith for two, who endorse one
> organization that has also become near and
> dear to my heart ~ Feed The Children.

> And, of course there are many others as
> well.

> Everyone needs to eat. But children who
> don't get the proper nutrients won't develop
> normally and won't have a chance to un-do
> the damage done to their health and
> structure at a young age when they are
> denied essential nutrients.

> The message that was left in my heart that
> day that the strangers came calling, was to
> increase my awareness of how blessed our
> family has been in that we've never gone to
> bed hungry and we know that food will be
> waiting for satisfy our appetites...
> in our warm and cozy kitchen every morning.
> And to share out of our own abundance with a
> heart felt gratitude.

> The holidays are coming and many generous
> people will help to insure that the food
> banks are full. And, other programs always
> kick in around the holidays to make the
> season a little merrier for the down and
> out.

> I don't know why the strangers digging
> through my garbage weren't working. I only
> saw their 'need' at that moment...and I felt
> immediately led to follow my instincts to
> help them - all I could matter what
> the circumstances that brought them to 'my
> door'.

> Hopefully, the work of my heart, soul and
> hands... my various creative products that I
> offer, will help me to continue my efforts
> to be of charitable service to as many
> others as possible. In giving, with a
> cheerful heart and without feeling
> obligated, I believe that it really is me
> who will be the most blessed of all. It just
> seems to work that way when you give from
> your heart.

> Yes, I do have a wish list of my own wants
> and needs. But life has a way of showing
> you, through an unexpected experience, just
> how wealthy and full and abundant your own
> life really is... especially when crossing
> paths with the less fortunate.

> My personal wish list isn't as important in
> the overall scheme of things when viewing
> life through different eyes.

> We are entering the season of more
> compassion. That warms my heart. But it
> shouldn't end in January.

> Sincerely,

> ~ Amber