I could give you an article with numbers. I could give you an article with demographics and other statics. I could say close to 600,000 people in the U.S. are homeless on a given night. I could tell you how much money is needed to solve the problem, but all the money in the world can’t. I could even tell you all the reasons why. But the truth is it won’t do any good. A number is only important when it’s directly associated with us, like your age or your paycheck, those are the numbers we tend to care about. And to those of us that lack skills in the mathematical realm, well…we flip the page to something interesting.
So, I’m giving you something you’ll actually want to read. But there’s a catch. These stories don’t come out of the rescue mission. They come from people in our community…people just like you.
The first comes from a humble grandmother with a heart for music and a heart for the homeless. It began some 30 years ago volunteering in our kitchen, doing some gardening around the building and serving Thanksgiving dinner. As the years passed and the mission began to grow, she wondered what else could be done to support the mission. Then the idea came. Piano lessons.
The goal: Offer piano lessons in return for donations that would go to the Rescue Mission. Among her first clients were her grandchildren. This rendered some hesitancy for the grandmother at first, as they were her own young grand-kids with parents still in school, but there was more to just suggesting they drop a few dollars from their allowance into the donation box. It was about the lesson in serving that could taught, the lives that could be changed.
Imagine the reluctance you might face in this situation…the questions asked or weird looks you might get. Yet, there is something that will overcome that. Something that far and few are willing to pursue. A noble mind and humbled heart. This determined grandmother had just that. Grand-kids came willingly with a few dollars they could scrape together and placed it in the box with joyful faces.
Let’s take it back a few years to our own elementary level classes. Think about one of the fundraising experiences you had where the excitement grew with each added item. We didn’t really know then how it would change something else, we only knew that we were excited to do more and more to make it bigger, until the day it was given to the charity or cause and we all watched with this amazement as it filled someone else’s heart. The same happened with the kids in this story. They watched as the box filled. They grew alongside it, but most importantly, they saw what their grandmother’s heart saw when they came to donate the collected funds to the Rescue Mission.
Since that initial day, the studio has grown to allow more kids to take lessons. Thus, the purpose remains. The donation box rests quietly to the notes that fill the air, listening to laughter and instructions. Yet, the ultimate lesson is that more often than not, those small efforts from those with the biggest hearts have the greatest impact. Every few months or so, the grandmother and her students enter the Rescue Mission to present the donation, and every time, we are reminded that the envelop holds much more than money.
They are people just like YOU.