It’s not always the Big things
Amma volunteers have been cooking and serving a hot, nutritious breakfast for the homeless in Detroit every Wednesday morning for the past 8 odd years. The committed group of volunteers arrive at the church kitchen at 6.30am.
Scenario from last week - our group of 5 volunteers spring into action, boiling water for the eggs, cooking grits and oatmeal, cutting fruit etc. Three buses pick up the homeless from around Detroit and they file in around 8.00am. The line moves briskly, some faces weary, cold and weather-beaten, some eager, cheery, hungry - greeting the volunteers, thanking us with God Blesses, as they choose their meal. Meenu, one of our regular volunteers, who was serving oatmeal, suddenly spotted a young lady in the line with tears silently streaming down her face. Meenu instantaneously said "Oh honey, what's the matter? Let me come give you a hug." And there she was hugging this lady, who was now sobbing uncontrollably, being comforted by Meenu. Not many words were exchanged between the two. The lady calmed down some, took her food and settled down to eat. When everyone was served, Meenu sat with the lady while she ate. After several minutes, we noticed the lady come back to the serving station with a smile on her face and visibly more calm and relaxed. She had never been homeless before and it was her 1st day at the center and she was feeling very scared as she did not want to live under a bridge.
For that lady, that day, Meenu's genuine, spontaneous hug, concern and compassion definitely lifted her spirits, and brightened her day!
It does not matter if we cannot accomplish “big” things. It is more than enough if we can speak a kind word, show a loving smile, and willingly and patiently listen to the problems of others. - excerpt from Amma's 2017 New Year's message
** The South Oakland Citizens for the Homeless (SOCH) has been operating Welcome Inn Day Warming Center during the winter months for the homeless for many years. This service fills the basic needs of warmth, food, clothing and hygiene while also providing transportation, case management and access to medical and legal services of other providers.