It seems a paradox that people who live with very little are often the most generous. Before the COVID-driven scarcity mindset that seems to have beset the world was a thing, many folks in Parkdale (and any number of places around the city and the world) were living with little. In the midst of this pre-existing poverty, there was often incredible generosity. Now, when resources are even more scarce, this generosity is still very alive and well. Here are a few examples that made me smile/cry in the last little while:
During a visit with a friend who has experienced homelessness and has severe mobility issues, this friend told me and Erinn that he decided not to stockpile food and toilet paper but to just get what he needed. “If I have 3 rolls of toilet paper, it means that 2 other people will go without! That’s not cool.”
Later in that same visit, I told him that I was supposed to be going to my first ever Leafs game that night at 7pm, but that the NHL had made the decision to suspend the season at 1pm. My friend is a huge Leafs fan, and was crushed that I was missing “the opportunity of a lifetime”. He started tearing up on my behalf, and prayed for me that God would “hook this girl up! Let her at least bump into [Auston] Matthews on the street or something, God!” I started to cry too– not because of the cancelled game, but because of the huge empathy of my Leaf-loving buddy.
Yesterday we, The Dale staff team, were handing out brunches-to-go outside the church (Epiphany and St Mark’s Anglican) that is our current meal prep headquarters. A man came and picked up a bag, and then was on his way. A little later I went to a nearby parkette to deliver a couple of meals that I had promised to someone. As I approached the parkette, I saw that the man who had just collected a bagged brunch was sharing it with two other men (for whom I had brought food). He obviously didn’t know that I was coming; he didn’t know that there was enough food for all three of them to have a full meal. All he knew was that he had food, that his friends did not, and that he was willing to share.
May these stories be an encouragement, and a challenge to all of us (me included) for whom real or perceived scarcity is a new phenomenon. Our teachers in this are the folks who have been scraping by for a long time, and have been generous for just as long.