Our blogs this month focus on the intersection of mental illness and poverty. The two often go hand in hand and are often most visible among the homeless whom we pass on the streets. It would be remiss of us, though, to give the impression that poverty and mental health issues limit the ability of a person to be generous.
I see stunning examples of generous, giving hearts every single day at the Well Community. Well member Belinda* often brings clothes, bottles of water or canned goods that have been given to her and shares them with others. When we have enough food at a meal for members to take an extra plate home for later, she takes hers to someone she knows is without food.
Tangible goods are not the only way I see generosity spread at the Well. Several members kindly share their musical talents with us, as one plays the piano and two others lead us in songs and choruses. And it is not uncommon for someone to pass along a few dollars as a donation to the Well.
Perhaps the most touching memory I have is of Well member Frankie, who used to leave me voice mail regularly to say she was praying for me and my work. What a generous way to support the Well!
The people we serve live in poverty. We help them with some of life’s basics like nutritious food, clothing, shoes and hygiene supplies. But members of the Well are also rich in compassion, caring and mutual respect. Their generosity of spirit overwhelms me at times, and I am grateful they have invited us to walk life’s journey together.
*names are pseudonyms