Homelessness and hunger are issues that are very meaningful to me. When we lived in Houston, I volunteered at a soup kitchen whenever I could. When we lived in Massachusetts, I would drive over to Vermont once or twice a week and work at the Food Bank. For years, I have taken photos of the homeless and have displayed them here and there in order to spread the message of their plight.
Yesterday, when I picked up 3 year old Ingrid from preschool, she asked over and again, if I would buy her a cookie. In general, we all try to give her as few sugary sweets as possible. There are days when I give them to her, but very infrequently. Yesterday, she had sweets at school and was generally sort of tired and cranky, so I decided that more sweets were not on the agenda.
We came to a stoplight, and there was a man standing on the corner who was carrying a big sign that said, “I Am Very Hungry!”…..so John and I decided to buy him a meal, and to let Ingrid participate.
We told Ingrid that we were going to pool all of our cookie money and buy the homeless man some food because he was very hungry. She was full of questions and, at first, protested. However, when we took her into Subway, she got into the whole idea and wanted to help choose the foods that we got for the man.
We ordered a big, foot long sandwich, baked chips, a bag of fresh apple slices, a bottle of orange juice and two cookies. My husband walked down the street and gave him the food and he was very grateful. Ingrid watched as he tore into the bag and began to eat and had much to say on the subject.
Therefore, we have decided to start letting her do things to earn money to put into a jar. When she has enough, we will take her back to help someone else who is hungry. Yeah….it’s just a small gesture on the part of a 3 year old, but one is never too young to learn compassion for others. Right?