From the beginning of this journey I’ve been vocal about my desire to raise awareness and be the voice of those affected by poverty. In light of this I’ve decided to, with their permission of course, start sharing some of the stories we’ve been hearing and introducing you to some of the people we’ve had the privilege of working with.
This post is special to me—not only is it dedicated to an individual we’re working with.. but to someone I am now lucky to call a friend!
When I asked him if I could write about him he enthusiastically consented! However… he requested that I keep his identity anonymous for fear that a local food bank may no longer offer him assistance if they knew we were also helping him. This infuriates me slightly (okay A LOT) because the only way to successfully eradicate poverty is if all organizations and people unite in an effort to do so… but that is an issue for another post all together!
So…. Allow me to introduce you to “Mister Anonymous” (he chose that title…. Because he’s spunky AND hilarious).
Let me start by being very clear about something… the help and kindness we’ve offered him doesn’t even compare to the joy he has brought to my life in the few weeks we’ve been chatting. I’ve delivered to him a few groceries, meals and a grocery card in the amount of $75 (and a bag of old newspapers but I don’t feel like that counts). That’s it. He asks for so little that it both shocks and humbles me.
I will point out that poverty plagues his life in horrifying ways. He experiences a type of poverty that many of you probably don’t even realize exists in our area. The kind that leaves him without running water or adequate housing. Without assurance that he’ll be able to eat for the month. I think it’s shameful that the fear of being cold and going hungry are a reality for him- shameful. BUT.. I’ll leave it at that. I don’t want his struggles to be the focus of this post.
I simply want to help you get to know him. Because he is one hell of a man. No one deserves to be cold and hungry—but this man in particular…… No. Just no.
At the age of 70 he, as you can imagine, knows a lot more about pretty much everything than I do! I’ve learned an incredible amount from him… and look forward to learning much more! I’m undecided as to which one of us looks forward to our calls most. We chat regularly on the telephone, as he lives out of the city, but I did have the pleasure of meeting him a few weeks ago. He has, perhaps, the kindest eyes I’ve ever seen and those eyes are what I envision during our conversations.
We have really great conversations!
Not only has he educated me but he’s showed me kindness in ways I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced. Thoughtfulness and consideration that lifts me up more than he’ll ever know. He travels to his garden to harvest vegetables for my family. We’ve enjoyed many toasted tomato sandwiches and fresh vegetables at his hands. He calls to check in on me. To check in on my children. To ask about their first day at school and their colds.
He and I happen to share our birthdays! Kind of cool, right? On a recent trip down to pick up our vegetables and fresh eggs he gifted me a birthday present. Yes you read that correctly. He, who struggles daily, went through his vast collection of music and picked out 4 albums suited to my taste (all 4 of which I love by the way!). He handed me the four albums with a card in which he thanks me for my kindness towards him and others; and wishes me a happy birthday! I hope he knows that the kindness HE demonstrates is an example for all of us… including me! I know I am not the only person who has experienced his compassion and care for others. He gives very freely to those he cares for.
I’ll probably never be able to work as hard as he can or to go without like he does and still be able to bring joy into the lives of others. I’m certain that I won’t EVER have the passion and knowledge for music that he does (no matter how hard he’s trying to help me)… But if I can build, in myself, half the character he possesses then I will consider THAT a success.
Here is what I REALLY want you to know about “Mister Anonymous” ….
He is intelligent, kind and wise beyond words. He is talented and compassionate. He is wildly knowledgeable and really FUNNY! He is considerate of others. He is so joyful and incredibly content… and he deserves MORE!
In our many conversations I have learned all of these things about him. But the one thing that moves me the most is how little he needs to be happy. We were chatting one afternoon and he expressed to me the only two things in life that really bring him down.
Being cold… and going hungry.
I’ve replayed that in my mind many times. If ONLY that’s all it took for some of us to be happy in life… myself included!
Such a remarkable man.
I plan to ensure, to the best of my abilities and with YOUR help, that he no longer has to experience cold or hunger. I’d like your help to provide him with wood to heat his trailer through the cold months and food. I’d like your help to provide him with peace of mind.
And maybe we could throw in a few music albums and biographies along the way too!
“We need each other, deeper than anyone ever dares to admit to themselves. I think it is a genetic imperative that we huddle together and hold on to each other. There is no question in my mind that there is nothing else in life, really, than friendship.” -Patch Adams
If you would like to help us provide warmth for one of the kindest souls I’ve ever encountered.. you can etransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org or contribute via our GoFund me page below. To donate specifically to this effort simply add “Mister Anonymous” as a note attached to your donation.