After church today, we headed to Sam's Club and then to Rich's favorite, Hometown Buffet, for lunch.
As we were packing everyone back up in the van to head home, a woman and a little girl approached us. After apologizing for bothering us 10 times, the woman said, "My daughter and I are homeless and living in our car over there in the parking lot. Is there any way you could give us a few dollars?" I'm glad Rich had some cash on him, because I rarely do these days. I handed the $5 to her and squeezed her hand and said I'll pray for her and her daughter. At that, her face softened and she looked grateful and said, "Pray for my daughter. Her name is Kristin." I said I would and off they went. We saw them approaching another couple as we drove off.
Whether she was really homeless or a junkie or a liar or a just woman in a bad place, it didn't matter. There was a kid about Jack's age with her, staring at the pavement, not making eye contact with me. If there was any way that $5 might get that kid some food, it was worth the risk. I cannot imagine the life this little girl leads. She is now permanently on my prayer list.
Rich and I talked about it all the way home. I feel like I should have talked with her more, said something to her, asked her something...I don't know what, but something more. I really wish I would have mentioned my church's Free Store and GRIN program (Gahanna Residents In Need). I just didn't think of it at the moment. Next time I will be ready.
I want to make up some cards with that information on it - the name and address of our church and a list of the programs it offers. That way, when I'm approached by someone in need, I can give them that card and, if they really just need help, I've given them a real way to get it. I'll probably still give them cash if I have it - that's just the kind of sucker I am I guess. I figure if there's a 50/50 chance the person is either a crook or a person in real need, there's a 50/50 chance that my money might help them.