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The Price of a Cup of Coffee...

Posted: February 08, 2014

Who would have thought that for the price of a couple of cups of coffee that we could change someone’s life? This is exactly what happened last week. I got a call just as I was packing up my desk. A man called to inquire whether we could help him get two pairs of black khakis, black rubber soled shoes and a black belt. He had just secured a job in a restaurant and was thrilled! The only problem he had was that he couldn’t afford to buy the items for his uniform.

He said he was willing to work, but needed help. He wondered if we might be able to find the things he needed! His new employer would provide the apron. But, his shoes had holes, so they weren’t safe in the kitchen.

I asked him his sizes. I said that he was in luck because our Garage Sale was starting the next day! I was confident that we would be able to find what he needed.

I quickly walked down the hall to St. Martin’s where all of the clothes were neatly hung on racks or folded on tables. It looked like a small department store. St. Patrick’s has been buzzing with excitement the last few weeks. Volunteers have been working long hours collecting, sorting, hanging, and pricing donations!

Generous donors from St. Patrick’s and the surrounding neighborhood have been dropping off items for the sale! Closets have been cleaned, storage areas cleared and garages finally emptied of salable, gently used items! Cheerful volunteers have been accepting, sorting and moving items into the appropriate staging areas! Staff has been working behind the scenes to support all of the activity!

When I entered St. Martin’s Hall, I spoke with a couple of volunteers I knew and explained what I was doing. They helped me find the right sizes. Next, I checked with the co-chairs to explain the call I had received and asked if I could take the items for our Social Justice Crisis Advocacy Ministry. They graciously agreed. They tallied up the items, the total was $8.50.

I quickly returned to my office to call the man and to let him know that he could stop by my office the next day to pick them up.

As I thought about the chain reaction of goodness, I was amazed that several individual decisions played a role. First, a donor decided to bless us with quality donations, volunteers shared their time to sort, fold and hang the items. And two talented women stepped into key leadership roles to make it all happen, Liz Zung and Lynda Mader.

The next day when I met with the man I told him about our good fortune! I gave him the items I had collected. He was so grateful. He is a single father struggling on his own with two children. I was delighted that I could extend these gifts from St. Patrick’s.

When I described what happened to Fr. Tim, I said that there is really good work happening here. I felt proud to be a part of it. When you do good work, you never know who it blesses. Thanks to everyone who donated, volunteered or shopped at our garage sale.

And, if you are the donor of the black pants, black soled shoes or a black belt, know that you are giving a man, “a hand up, not a hand out of poverty”… And, that is worth the price of a couple cups of coffee!