The dirty, smelly tiny 3 year old girl sat at the table with tears trickling down her face looking at the banana in the middle of the table. The banana had been put there for dessert – the rest of the meal was still on the stove. The tiny child, sitting on a plastic bowl to raise her up enough to reach the table, belly distended from malnutrition and parasites, feet hardened through lack of shoes made no move to grab the banana, but just sat sadly staring. In horror I realized her torture. That food usually had to be shared with 8 other hungry mouths, or perhaps had to last until tomorrow. She had never seen an entire meal let alone the ability to understand the concept of dessert.
I was able to fill her hungry belly not just for that meal, but for every meal. However, her fear and need have stayed in my heart.
When I learned that I had to be present at a client’s office at College and Bay once a week I inwardly groaned. The commute, the traffic, the cost – the overall inconvenience. However, I turned my thinking around. As the weather gets colder, many street people come in from the cold to the market level below this building. They are cold and hungry.
Each week I challenged myself to take a street person to breakfast. I let them choose from the menu, tell me how they like their coffee – choices I am sure they don’t often get to make. Some want to talk, some are lost in their own mental anguish.
It is through the memory of what hunger looks like from the eyes of my daughter that I feel called to reach to the hungry and homeless.
Is this comfortable? No – it is way out of my wheelhouse. But by the grace of God, I am able to find the strength to break through the barrier of my fears.