Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: In The Kitchen - deadline 7-19-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/12/12)
TITLE: The Stomach Carries the Heart
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The woman who lives across the street from me has paranoid schizophrenia, so her husband (whose driver license was suspended for receiving eighteen speeding tickets) has to stay at home and keep an eye on her 24/7 and rely on others when they need to get around. Consequently, when he discovered that their EBT Food Stamps card was missing, he was at a loss as to what to do. They were low on food, and he certainly was not going to let his wife starve, but he’d heard that it can take the state of Georgia a good month or more to send a replacement card. So, he thought he’d just send his wife to her mother’s for a while. But, he really didn’t want to do that either. He wanted to be a man and provide for his wife, regardless.
I’d only stepped outside for a few minutes to get something out of my car before kicking off my heels, hose, and skirt and setting in for the night, so I wasn’t expecting to end up in a conversation with anyone, but I was glad that Steve felt comfortable enough to confide in me. He didn’t ask me for any help at all. He just voiced his frustrations and fears and I just listened and reassured him that things would be all right. God would provide.
Then, I went back inside, and checked out the contents of my own kitchen. There were more than enough cans of carrots and other things that I would eat, but my son would not, so I gathered them up, tossed them into my truck and headed back out to the grocery store to buy some food for my friends.
Of course, Steve was a little embarrassed, ashamed and insistent that he’d pay me back as soon as he could, but I was not about to hear any word of that. The food was my gift to them – a gift that they would never have to pay back. After several hugs and thank yous from Steve and his wife (especially his wife) I finally went back inside to slip into something a little more comfortable and settle in for the night.
That night, there was about a 50% chance of rain, and when I looked outside to see what the clouds were telling us, I saw Steve back out on his porch. Hoping that he‘d brewed the coffee that he hadn’t had all day and had had a bite to eat; I asked if he’s eaten yet, and he said, “No. We can’t. We’re all out of salt and butter.” So, I went back into my kitchen, grabbed all of my salt and the rest of my butter and gave them to him. Of course, Steve did not want to take all of the salt, but I insisted. Salt is cheap.
Two days later (on Friday, the 13th), the phone rang. It was the manager of a store that I had applied to two months earlier. He wanted to know if I was still looking for a job, because if I was, he really needed me to start that Monday. Of course, I said yes. Then, a few hours later, he called back and asked me to start on that day instead. I have been working there ever since.
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” and when you have the kindness of heart to see to it that his mentally ill wife also has something to eat, your blessings will be bountiful, too.
Many food pantries are hurting for donations these days, so each week before you go back out to shop for your own food, go through your pantries, your cabinets, and your fridges to see if there is anything there worth donating to the poor, and if there isn’t, check your wallet. Every little bit helps, so if there’s enough room in your wallet put together a care package while you shop for your own food and donate that to a food pantry instead. Sometimes a small, anonymous act of kindness is all that anyone needs to feel better about his situation and move on.
Remember, some who have shown hospitality to strangers have entertained angels without ever even knowing it (Hebrews 13:2).
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