Random acts of kindness

day_3We love random acts of kindness.
Write about a time that you benefitted from the kindness of a stranger,
or a time when you were the one extending a helping hand.
How did you feel?

kindnessIt was December 2005.  That was the year we filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and closed the doors of our health food store. It was one of the hardest times for our family. We were so broke that we couldn’t even afford cable TV. We finally relented and applied for public assistance. Our allotment was just over $200 a month in food assistance and there was no other money to add to it. Fortunately, we still had a large freezer full of beef, paid for by the kindness of another relative. It was quite a challenge to make that meager sum stretch over the month for four people.

There was nothing available in the budget for Christmas. We tried not to think about it too much, but with two young children (ages 8 and 11), we knew we had to come up with something.

Then one day, I get a call from a good friend. She nominated our family to be adopted for Christmas by a local charity. I was humbled by her thoughtful kindness. Within a few days I received a follow-up call from the sponsoring group. The kids would get Christmas! They would also get much-needed winter boots, hats, and gloves.

A few days before that call, our youngest had pinched his finger in one of the folding chairs we had been using as part of a make-shift kitchen table. We were lucky he wasn’t hurt badly, but worry of a more serious injury was frequently on my mind. So, when asked what our family needed most, I didn’t hesitate to share our need for a table set with sturdy, safe chairs.

A few weeks before Christmas, our Santas arrived with a brand new table & chairs, a box full of food to make a Christmas dinner (including the turkey!), and a bag full of wrapped presents for our kids. My heart was flooded by their generosity and kindness.

The next day, a stranger appeared at our door with an even bigger box full of food and a $250 gift card to the local grocery store. He was from my father’s company. Secretly, my Daddy had nominated us to be adopted.

I cried and cried from a heart overflowing with gratitude. Tears poured from my face as I filled our empty cabinets with food from both boxes. Daddy knew that we were proud and wouldn’t ask for help, so he asked for us. I’m crying now as I write this, remembering how broke and scared we were. That was the toughest year ever. First it was the foreclosure on our house, then the repossession of my car, and closing our store. By the time we got to the bankruptcy, there was nothing left to cry about.

No one tells you about those first years after a bankruptcy. We were broke and had already sold off anything of value to pay our bills. The simple act of delivering food did so much more than fill our bellies. The kindness of total strangers filled our hearts with hope for a better future.

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