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The Gift of Giving – Street Level

Donations are dropped off all the time at our office, at 391 Gladstone. Kind, well intentioned and generous, we often receive gifts of sandwiches and soup and treats for our Tuesday and Thursday Door Outreach. Nearly as frequently, donations arrive from individuals, community groups or churches that are so much appreciated: winter boots, coats, mitts and gloves, long underwear, sleeping bags, blankets, etc. Last summer a proud Mom brought her young daughter who did her own fundraising event and donated all the proceeds! This special gift included blankets, a tent, lots of water and more.

Today’s donor was different than any of those. Sven was hard to recognize, completely bundled up in every piece of clothing he owned: he reminded me of the Michelin Man or a Sumo wrestler clothed with layers and layers of clothing. Sven, actually, is one of our street friends. Normally a recipient of services, today he was a donor!

He presented us with his generous offering in a tattered oversized shopping bag: a warm blanket, a pillow, a scarf and a thermos. Sven shared that this was not the complete package that it started out as: it initially also held a coat, socks and a tea bag, but those he kept. He put on the coat immediately; the tea bag went in the thermos of hot water and he was warm for most of the remainder of the night.

The oversized bag had been a gift from a lady with a dog who just last night came across him on the street. He was so very grateful for her kindness because it was so very cold (minus 25 degrees Celsius!).

Living rough, living in homelessness, he would have difficulty carrying the bag with its blanket and pillow and wanted to donate it so someone else who could benefit from the great gift of warmth he had received. With joy, he enthusiastically identified his benefactor as an angel and boldly proclaimed that the gifts of warmth she had given him were most certainly from God. After all, he received them at the very moment he needed them most!

Out of his own great need, Sven had a heart to help others in need. He had a heart to give and gave what he could.

Thanks Sven, for sharing what you have been given! Your encouraging story has helped us understand giving in a different way, and we are blessed to see how you have blessed others!

Editor: We will launder the blanket and pillow and honor his wish!

~Margo, Managing Director

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