From assistance at the food pantry to friendship: an important step
"I volunteer at an emergency food pantry. Besides distributing food, the sisters there also help people who are about to be evicted from their homes, as well as new immigrants.
One day, while I was working in the pantry, a sister asked if I could drive a woman and her children to their new apartment. I wasn’t familiar with the area and am horrible with directions, so I asked if someone else could do it. She just smiled and pulled me to the other side of the building.
"There I looked into the eyes of a scared woman of another faith and her trembling three children. All of their meager worldly possessions were there before them. I couldn’t say no. We packed my car with their things and some food. The sisters quickly shouted the directions and the first one whispered, “Don’t leave her side until the lease is signed. They’ll rip her off!” I felt I was in over my head, but I trusted in God’s guidance!
"We managed to find the apartment leasing office. Sure enough, seeing that she was different, they tried to raise the monthly rent. I spoke up. Once everything was settled, I hugged the family and was getting ready to leave.
"The older daughter then asked me come see their new home. “Why not?” I said. As we walked there, I prayed to God that it would be furnished, but it was not. I was stunned to see the woman and her children so happy anyway. When the manager left, the woman in her quiet voice thanked me and asked if I could ask the sisters for one chair.
The next day at Mass, I felt in my heart that Jesus was asking me to continue to love this woman concretely, with all the love my Christian faith teaches.
"I met with my pastor and explained the situation. He immediately agreed to ask our parish community to help this family, and soon people brought furniture, bedding, linens and dishes! We even received some gift cards to a local grocery and department store and donations covering one month’s rent.
"I still visit the family weekly and believe God brought us together for many reasons. Once shy around each other, the woman and I now share openly. We even talk about our faith traditions, learning from one another.
I look forward to these moments with my new “sister.”"