Making a Difference…

The fine folks over at the Mets Police, specifically, my pal Dan Twohig, have been gathering items for people who have found themselves in harm’s way during the Hurricane and now the snowstorm that has followed. They have been more than inspiring when you consider that Dan, himself was without power for many days and yet chose to think of others first.

What started as a call from a member of the FDNY to a college friend became a huge grassroots drive spanning 4 states and involving dozens of people to help thousands. In just the few days I collected donations, it went from a few bags in my living room, to filling a 2-car garage. So many people came by, I wasn’t able to thank everyone, but I do want to relate just a few stories to give you an idea of the generosity I saw:

– The person who had been out of work for over a year and couldn’t give money, but had “stuff” that others could use
– The elderly couple whose children had grown and so didn’t have any children’s items to donate, so they went out and bought several boxes of diapers and wipes
– The person who donated a heavy, warm leather coat – with a note in the pocket that said in part “I loved this coat – I hope it keeps you warm in these troubled times”
– My wife’s co-worker, who sat down with her young daughter and made about 2 dozen personal care packages (toothbrush, wash cloth, etc)

A great effort by just a few concerned citizens that have helped out many.

It does bring me to consider this in this great time of need: How many more people find themselves in harm’s way as a mode of daily existence?

Our work for others need not merely be parochial, but needs to spread beyond the reaches of our national boarders as well. Of course that’s not to say that we can solve all the world’s needs. Like Dan, we are able to do what we can–and I know Dan does this kind of work often, so it’s nothing new for him to have such a big heart. But so many in the world choose an apathetic nothing, living lives of quiet desolation.

We need more people taking on just one cause, contributing where they can and allowing their hearts to stretch just a bit farther than they think they can. For it is there that we experience God, lurking in our hearts and opening our lives to a more deeper way of living, not just for ourselves but for others.

St. Ignatius reminds us to do a daily examen of our lives and it seems to me that perhaps unconsciously, Dan did exactly that on the way home from his delivery:

Two hours after we pulled up, we were on our way back to PA with an empty truck. As fulfilling as it was to be able to collect so much for those who needed it, being able to see it being distributed almost immediately really put it unto focus. Most people don’t get to see the impact their donations have on others. If people did, I am sure the response would be even greater.

In the deep recesses of our memory we find God moving our hearts even further, reminding us of how great we can be and how much we all have to give, not merely how much we have to spare for others.

Dan reminds us:

For those who want to help with this effort, to see what is currently needed you can go here

And for those who wish to make a monetary donation, you can go here

Continued blessings on the now Snowy NorthEast Coast.