OFH Clothing for a Cause

food for the homeless & hope for the hopeless

The Box

He cried. He hugged the box and cried. The shoes were already on his feet, but he hugged that box. A big grin was on is face. I don’t always get that response when I have shoes for someone but just when I am at my weariest I am blessed with another’s joy in the work I am doing.

Every Thursday night we go out and feed the homeless. I sit at a table at the beginning of the food line with a notebook to take prayer requests and requests for clothing and shoes. Sometimes it’s a request for a belt, back pack or new underwear.  Sometimes they ask for prayer over finding a job or being reunited with family. Most need shoes. Donations of men’s gently used or new shoes are rare. I have to go and purchase them weekly. I can usually only buy about 10 pairs. It depends on donations. I bag them up and have their name on the bag. They are proud to tell you their name. They matter.

Imagine being a homeless person. Nameless and faceless and seen as a bother to most and treated as such. Have you ever felt rejected? Abandoned? Shunned by friends or family? It’s the most amazing feeling to have someone to look into your eyes and care. To hug you even when you are filthy.  To see that you are in need and meet it.  To sit and talk with you. You respond. Even abandoned, filthy, hungry dogs respond to a bath, food and petting. They become loyal and trusted friends. That’s what some of these guys are doing with us. It takes time. They are afraid of being hurt again. Abandoned again.

A simple gift of shoes brought tremendous joy to a man. It’s all I had to give. Later that evening when most had left the parking lot I turned around and saw a woman sitting on the ground. She was carefully taking her precious few belongings out of a plastic bag and putting them in a box.  That man had given all he had to give. She was smiling. Someone cared.

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