Food bank provides nice twist by generosity of fellow clients
It was my first visit to a food bank, and for my friend, who I will call Shelly, the first visit since 1998.
We chose to go to the Northside Common Ministries site, since it was closest to Shelly's home. Shelly gave up her job as a licensed practical nurse to care for her sister, Pat, who is 59 and has early dementia. The short-term disability income Pat is receiving just doesn't cover the bills like her salary did.
We found a place to park and got a number. Before we knew it, others in line started giving us tips on how the food pickup worked. First, we were told we didn't have to wait in line for bread. We could take "as much as we needed and could carry," and in fact we could come back for bread every day the food bank is open even though we can only get other food once a month.
Soon, several kind souls looked at us and said, "You didn't bring any bags to carry your food in?" As others came and went and noticed our bag-free hands, two separate people shared their bags with us, saying, "Take these two bags, I probably have more than enough."
We were so grateful at their kindness, but we worried that it meant that each of these kind, caring people would have less food than they had planned on.
While I was waiting for Shelly to have her interview before receiving food, I struck up a conversation with one of the women who had given us bags. I shared some of my background with her and said I had learned that The Salvation Army on the North Side also gave out food. She was very grateful for the tip and worried how she would find out when and where she could use their food bank.
I reminded her that she can call the "211" resource line for help, since that is how I got my information. She kindly thanked me for the tip. It was the least I could do for someone who had given us our grocery bags and made us feel less awkward.
When we got to the car, there were tears in Shelly's eyes, and she was filled with mixed emotions, as was I. We felt so strongly the kindness and humanity of others in our situation and yet so sad that despite our best efforts, we needed the help of a food bank. The strangers made the sadness so much easier for us both.
Thank you to those who shared what little they had with us, potentially at their own sacrifice of food.
His return of two lost envelopes showed young man's diligence
On June 9, two very important envelopes slipped -- unbeknownst to me -- from the tote bag I was carrying in the parking lot of the Market Square Giant Eagle in Bethel Park.
Shortly after I left that area, a very handsome young man brought them to my residence. Unfortunately, the person who received them there did not ask his name. I certainly hope she thanked him, but I now find myself in the unhappy position of being unable to express my gratitude myself.
I very much hope he reads the Post-Gazette, and especially this column, and can know how grateful I am to him. So many times we are told that the young adults today are self-centered and uncaring. Having worked with them professionally, I know this to be untrue. This very responsible and thoughtful act of the young man who went to great effort to get these envelopes back to me corroborates my feelings.
Upper St. Clair
Forced temporarily to use a walker, a man is struck by others' goodness
For the past five weeks I've had to use a walker due to surgery on an ankle. It's amazing the amount of people who assist by opening doors, moving aside, offering to help with bags.
Sometimes people you think will help don't do so, but there are more pleasant surprises than disappointments. Also, it's interesting how many strangers mention that at one time they had to use a walker to get around -- sort of a secret fraternity/sorority.
Has someone done you right? Send your Random Act of Kindness to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Portfolio, Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.