Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Generosity

Today I've been washed in visions of generosity--not directed toward me, but toward the people in town who are often forgotten, marginalized, or disdained, and who are overwhelmed with problems.

It started with a member of my congregation who has been having a very rough time this summer. I will protect her privacy by not giving details, but believe me, it's been rough. Last Saturday she went to a local non-profit called The Samaritan Fellowship, which gives limited, short-term aid to people at the end of their rope. They agreed to give her $500 (their maximum) toward her mortgage payment. However, they also told her that an additional $1300 would be coming through us, her church.

Turns out that the person who interviewed her was so impressed with her pluck and general determination to straighten out her life that he decided to make a personal contribution of his own money to pay the rest of her debts. He made a contribution to our church, so that he could get a tax deduction, and then we used his contribution to pay off the rest of her mortgage and her heating bill. (She has no idea about the personal contribution.)

He and I have talked several times to work out the logistics of this, and he told me about another organization in which he is active here in town, which is a representative payee for people who can't manage their own money--the mentally ill, or elderly people whose children are ripping them off. Whatever their income is, it goes directly to this organization, which pays the person's bills (rent, utilities, etc.) and then gives the person some regular allowance for the rest of their expenses. They will also set some aside into a savings account for people who need a cushion against unexpected losses in income due to illness or whatever. They charge a $30/month fee, or nothing if the person can't manage the fee.

What impressed me about him, this generous benefactor, is that he was so quick to credit others for the wonderful generosity they exhibit in their creative efforts to help those who need to be helped. Most of these folks are mainstream Christians (Presbyterian, Lutheran) who do this to serve the Lord, and do it with tremendous generosity of spirit. I am in awe.

I have often found fault with the good citizens of this community for their closed-mindedness, their political conservatism, and other characteristics which I don't personally embrace. This has been an eye-opener for me, and I am humbled.

1 Comments:

Blogger ms. kitty said...

Hi, Judy, I love your blog! Good work, girl-------isn't it fun? I love putting my thoughts out there for people to read, whether they do it or not!

My son will be getting married next summer and he's going to wear a kilt too, as his dad is Scots-Irish. He has great knees and a gorgeous fiancee whom I also love dearly. She is the one who has had the cancer scare I reported on in my blog.

9:20 PM  

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