Today’s act of HOPE had me driving to the town of White Bear Lake, the location of the drop-off warehouse for “Sponsor a Family MN”. To be honest, I would have done this act anyway; our family does it every year, but I chose to label it and think of it as an act of HOPE.
Let’s just say, things start off looking pretty hopeless. Each year Sponsor a Family matches a donor to a family in need. The family members come up with a wish list for Christmas, and we (the donors) go out and purchase as much on the list as we can within a suggested budget.
The hopeless part comes in when I look at the list. Really? This family does not have plates? Sheets? Boots? Shoes? A bedspread? How are they even living? It is indeed a hopeless feeling to realize the poverty that exists out there – our meager attempts to buy them socks from Target and jeans from JCPenney feels like just a drop in the bucket. A drop in that family’s vast bucket of needs, but even more, a drop in the ocean of despair that poverty has created in America.
I pull myself back long enough to ask to take a tour of the warehouse.
What I see is HOPE. The smiling volunteers sorting the gifts, the bicycles, the boxes the endless lists of anonymous families on the walls. I ask Mary, the coordinator, where they get the names of these families. She lists charter schools and parochial schools which have student poverty rates of 99%, the “Nuns in the Hood”, otherwise known as Visitation Monastery, who minister to the poorest families on the North Side of Minneapolis. Lutheran Social Services. Catholic parishes. The list goes on.
And that is what gives me HOPE. These people are out there everyday ministering and providing for the poorest of our poor. They believe they can make a difference, and l believe it too.
So, as I drop off the sheets and the bedspread and the plates, I feel HOPE. HOPE that my small gift will make a difference. And an even bigger HOPE that the people who serve the poor can make an even bigger difference. That HOPE comes with a prayer.