I have been delivering Meals on Wheels for a couple of years. Each time I do my deliveries it provides another lesson to me about growing older, loneliness, isolation, and what being poor amongst the riches of this country means. I see people struggling, with deficient housing, neglected trailers, places littered with trash and peeling paint. I see older people struggle to get to the door, and some who are grateful for just a brief greeting or small bit of conversation while I drop off their meals.
Despite the brief contact, over the years I have begun to get to know the seniors who are on my route. Some want to engage, others it is just fine if I hand them their meals and leave.
I wasn’t prepared for this encounter recently, though. The fellow, who is disabled, and I am pretty sure never leaves his trailer, asked if I was going back to the office after I finished delivering. He handed me an envelope for Putney Cares, and told me it was a donation.
He said it “wasn’t much,” but told me it was $100.
I just stood there for a long while, almost speechless, thinking about how little this man must have and how precarious his finances must be, and yet he was giving back a not insignificant contribution to the group helping him.
I was deeply humbled and profoundly touched. And I did manage to convey this to him.
And it made me want to double my charitable contributions this year.
With Brattleboro voting overwhelmingly to become part of the international Charter for Compassion, the Reformer and The Commons have agreed to publish a “Compassion Story of the Month.” This is the 55th. Submissions, from Brattleboro area residents, for future publication, not to exceed 650 words, should be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to: Compassion Story of the Month, PO Box 50, Marlboro, VT 05344. Please include your name, address, phone number and email address. Earlier submitted stories will automatically be considered in subsequent months.