The bible is very clear that those who have should take care of those who have not. God is very clear to His people that we are to look after one another and give sacrificially to the poor and those in need in His world. I am not sure that he meant to donate without thought all of the stuff you want out of your house that you cant stand looking at and go drop it off to “bless” the poor.
At HHSM we are very proud of our reputation as the “Barton Boutique” a name one of our friends gave us to describe the free store we run in the city. They gave us that name in part because of the quality of clothing and goods we provide to those who at that moment are unable to get themselves. People often say we have better clothes than some stores downtown and they know when we say to them “we want everyone to shop with dignity” we mean it and don’t just say it.
I don’t want to sound like a clothes snob and I know some people live by the phrase: “beggars can’t be choosers” but at HHSM we believe very differently. We are called to not just say we are equal in the eyes of God and to love our neighbours as ourselves but we are called to put those words into action. “We are all Gods children” but I wonder how much thought we really put into that when donating to charities?
In the past I was one of those “beggars”. I needed to choose from the free clothes and shoes for myself and my daughter. I didn’t have the extra money to buy us clothes .I was trying to get off of welfare and get a better job (all the things people said I needed to do to stop living off their tax dollars) I couldn’t do that in someone’s old stained shirt that smelled like smoke or was covered in pet hair. I know you think I should have been grateful for a shirt like that and I should have just washed it but that costs money too .Moneys pretty tight when you’re a “beggar”. I wanted to look like I belonged in the interview for the job I was looking for. I wanted my daughter to go to the park or play group and look nice just like all the other children. I wanted her to take pride in what she looked like and not be teased for smelling bad. It was very rare that my trip to the free clothing place landed me with dirty or stained clothes. I will never forget the women who volunteered there who were upset to find something that did look that way. It was important to them that when I was choosing-even as a “beggar” I had the choice of clothing that we could wear with dignity.
I know people give with a good heart-I believe that. I know if you have never been in a situation to be a “beggar” you may not understand or have the kind of grace needed to see how important it is to look well so you can be well. So you can stand proud as child of God in His world in clean stain free odour free clothes. God’s mercy and grace does not differ from the “beggar”to the donor.
Please give thoughtfully when donating to the poor and needy of the world and give items you would want to choose for yourself and your family. Remember that it should cost us something to give if we call ourselves Christians and the question should never be “do I throw this out or donate it?” The questions should always be “do I have what they need? Can I buy it if I don’t? How fast can I get it there?”
Thank-you to all who donate so generously to HHSM with the hands of Jesus and the spirit of God in their heart.