Every time I visited my youngest daughter, Sydney, at college she requested rolled oats bars. I never could have guessed what she was doing with them. Since she was a little girl she has always been kind to others and willing to do anything for friends and family, even when, at times, she did not get that in return.
She and her two sisters volunteered with me at a woman’s shelter when they were young, simply playing with the children that lived there while their mothers attended a meeting on site. Then in high school she went on a retreat to repair houses with our church. In college, she has gone on two mission trips and has an upcoming one over her spring break. She attends college in an urban area; in some ways it is a typical college campus yet in other ways it is very different.
I am aware of when I visit her the amount of homeless people asking for money as we are walking around campus. Since I live in the suburban area of Chicago, I rarely see homeless people asking for money. I do believe that we should give our time and money to the organizations that support and help people in need, but I did not know how to handle her day-to-day exposure to this, so I just pretended it didn’t exist.
I can’t even remember when I found out what she had been doing with the oats bars. I think that once when I was visiting her, she started rummaging around in her backpack for something, and I asked what she was looking for. When she told me that she was looking for a granola bar, and was disappointed when she couldn’t find one, I still had no idea why.
When I finally asked her about them, her explanation was simple yet so impactful on my life. She said that because everyday, people ask her for money as she walks to class and since she doesn’t have enough money to give everyone, she offers them a granola bar. She said that no one has ever said no and everyone thanks her. She won’t stop homelessness, but maybe one person can be seen and feel cared about from her actions. It is a simple way to help others in need.
All through my day, no matter where I go, or what I do, I am always looking for the good. I try to find the good in people, in the world, in my life or even just in my day.
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