Homeless Person Donates 18 Cents, Teaches Gratitude
Philanthropy is not just for the rich. Gratitude is not just for those with an easy life. No matter where we come from or what we have, we all have a chance to show thanks and to give back.
These principles are made all the more evident by a recent story, in which one Charlotte, North Carolina church received a surprising donation. Nestled between a homeless shelter on one side and the city’s financial institutions on the other, the house of worship lies at a societal crossroads, bridging the gap between the haves and the have nots.
The church serves breakfast to some 150 homeless individuals each Sunday, as part of a program they call their “muffin ministry.” It was this program that led to the touching gift and the inspiring sentiment that accompanied it.
Among the regular collections offered by parishioners, a touching discovery was made. Those who went through the collections discovered an envelope which contained just 18 cents, accompanied by a simple note. It read “Please don’t be mad, I don’t have much. I’m homeless. God Bless.”
The donation of a dime, a nickel and three pennies was small, but those five coins carry a powerful message. This person was so grateful for the gifts of food and hope that the church and its membership had shared with her, that she was compelled to give of her meager assets what she could. Could you imagine having only a few coins to your name, and still choosing to share them with others?
We all run the danger in this life of getting too caught up in our own affairs, to make giving back something we delay for later. We may think “when I have more time” I will help out, or when I get some more money. This homeless person demonstrates that no matter how little we have, there is always something to be grateful for, and always a way to show it.
A gift does not always have to be monetary. We may donate our time and talents, or even just share a smile or some kind words. Parishioners at the church who received the gift were as touched by the note that accompanied the money as the gesture of the donation itself. Showing courage and gratitude for what we have been given can sometimes speak louder than a check.
For this church that lies between two worlds, one rich and the other poor, we see a reminder of the ties that unite us. No matter what walk of life we come from, no matter how much or how little we have in the way of possessions, we all share a common humanity. The potential for good and the measure of our character are the same, no matter where and how we live.
This anonymous homeless person, doing her best to give back within her means, serves as a lesson for us all. We encourage you and your family to sit down and share this story. Reflect on the spirit of giving, and what it can mean in our lives.
Please Note: We do not know whether the donor was male or female. For ease of use, we have elected to use feminine pronouns.