Okay, I know I harp on this every so often, usually around this time, but that means this is probably not a surprise to anyone who follows my blog.
Tonight, to make One More Run to the store for One More Thing we forgot, I headed out into the snow with Brent and the dog. And this time I ran into a familiar face from a while back... the woman who used to be the groundskeeper/custodian for the local church. She'd left the job some time back, and apparently her new job had folded. She and her husband had eventually ended up losing their place, casualties of the failing economy. One of the church members who lived nearby had been planning to let them stay the night, but they'd been trapped elsewhere in the snow. So she was stuck waiting outside to see if they could make it back, which seemed unlikely, while her husband looked for other options.
Several of us at the store in this weather decided to help her out; she's a familiar face to the folks in the area, after all. One woman went and bought her coffee. The rest of us put together some money so she and her husband could get a room at the Wallingford Inn for the night. She was planning to go to the church tomorrow and see if they might have some sort of work for her again.
My point, however, is that this cost each of us maybe $3-5, about the cost of a latté at Starbucks, and Anne was nearly in tears of gratitude at the end. This is a season that, regardless of your beliefs, has in many ways become about reaching out to others. And even that tiny little bit can make a huge difference, especially in conjunction with other people.
If you're out in all the snow and ice and see someone out there shivering, trying to sell papers or freezing as they look through the help wanted ads in the paper, offer to get them a cup of coffee, a hot sandwich, whatever. If they say yes, you're out... what, the cost of a latté? Maybe they'll say no, but even the small kindness can brighten a day. /Especially/ at this time of year, and in this weather.