Saturday, February 13, 2021

Kindness. Part Two

Thursday morning, 9 am. I get a call from someone saying she's from my bank. I'm seriously overdrawn and incurring massive overdraft fees. 

At least I think that's what she said... she had such a strong foreign accent, I was barely picking up what she was saying. 

And I knew she must be mistaken; I'd checked my bank balance at midnight (not a usual occurrence, but SO MANY people have been doing auto deposits this week, I needed to make sure I was keeping track of it all) and there was lots of money in there. Like, thousands more than usual. 

Assumed it was a scam call, and ignored it. 

THREE more calls from this frantic person at 'my bank' before I finally went online to see what the noise was all about. Sure enough, someone withdrew $21,000 from my chequing account. Which, yup, she was right, put me deep into overdraft. 

I could see who the culprit was, (it was the bank itself) so I wasn't concerned. It was clearly a error. But talking to her again wasn't an option. She was just so jumpy about me coming in with a suitcase of cash to cover the negative balance. 

So I left a voice mail and email message with 'my guy' at the bank, asking him to clear it up. He called back a couple hours later, super apologetic, and said he'd look after it. All of it. It would be done by the end of the day. In the meantime, my account wasn't available for me to withdraw funds. 


My plan had been to get a 500 British Pound backdraft (!!!) for English Twitter Heather and send a care package filled with Canadian goodies over to her that afternoon. (I have been absolutely gob-smacked by the generosity of friends, who've given money, cards, gifts to my aching girl in Lancashire.)

I can't even. 

I really can't.

And then...

And then, I started getting messages from friends, letting me know they had things for the homeless in Abby. (Originally, earlier this month, I was selling Valentine's rocks to raise extra funds for our 'last Saturday of the month dinners' as we were told to anticipate an increase in numbers (from 60 to 80 or more.) But THIS weekend, with record-breaking cold weather, the need was for late night care packages, sleeping bags, coats, hand-warmers, gloves, socks, Tim Horton's gift cards...) 

I posted a story to my Facebook page about two gals from The 5 and 2 Ministry who drove around Abbotsford at 3 am, looking for homeless people in distress. They gave them care packages, and took a couple to shelters. (My reason for posting the story was I felt it demonstrated perfectly who The 5 and 2 Ministries cares for and how personally they do it.) I WAS NOT FUNDRAISING. I was simply informing. 

 The response from my friends has been overwhelming. 

Angie, a friend I worked with 10 years ago, jumped right on it, asking her friends to help her provide sleeping bags ($125 each for those rated for - 14 degrees). A few hours later:

Way to go, Angie and friends! 

Meanwhile, I was getting messages from my Facebook peeps wondering how they could help.

Next thing I know I'm getting MORE money transferred to my account, and I'm meeting folks in the lobby of my work building, in church parking lots, at Tim Hortons ... who're loading up the back of my truck with brand new men's winter coats, brand new sleeping bags, 100's of granola bars, dozens of packages of thermal socks, toques, waterproof winter gloves ...

It was about 5:30 pm, my truck was full, and my eyes were overflowing. 

I sat and bawled. 

Kindness and compassion just does me in. And here I was in the middle of a swirling storm of generosity and I just couldn't hardly handle it all.

I felt so, so very lucky to know these good people. 

My last stop on my way back to my mom's at 7 pm, was to pick up bottled water and home-baked brownies from a friend. 

Her: You haven't eaten yet, have you?

Me: Nope. 

Her: I thought so. Here. Perogies, sausage, bacon and cole slaw ...

.... and that set me off again. 

For a woman with no hormones (me) I sure was being hormonal.

When I got back to my mom's, Max and I prepared 15 Late Night Care Packages for when The 5 + 2 Team they drive around at 3 am checking on their homeless friends in parks, behind buildings, under bridges...

Each bag is worth about $35:

  • Waterproof winter gloves
  • Toque 
  • Thick new thermal socks
  • Bottled water
  • Fruit Juice drinking box
  • Home baked brownie
  • Fruit cup 
  • Two granola bars
  • Fruit chews
  • Package of Kleenex
  • $10 Tim Horton's Gift Card

We boxed up a 8 men's winter jackets, 24 extra pairs of socks, a couple extra toques, two bags of used winter clothing and about a hundred granola bars, extra juice boxes, fruit cups, and and and. Well you get the idea. 

This? Was not anticipated. 

I started this month hoping to sell a few rocks to pay for some extra servings at our end of the month meal. And out of nowhere I have a truck full of donated items for the homeless. 

I dropped them all off at the shelter this evening, where they were accepted with appreciation and excitement. THANK YOU FRIENDS for allowing me to be part of your acts of kindness. It was a privilege to collect and distribute it all. 


My other 'project' this month, was to send British Twitter Heather a sympathy card and small care package. It was going to be from just me, but when I let friends who'd bought rocks this summer and sent Christmas cards this winter know that her dad died of Covid, AN OVERWHELMING OUTPOURING OF LOVE AND STUFF caught me off guard. Like for serious. Crazy just crazy how much people have loved on her. Her. A stranger. 5000 miles away. 

But she's hurting and wow. People have responded. In such a huge practical way. 

This afternoon, I sent off a box filled with gifts and a bank draft for 500 British Pounds (which is about $900.) (My overdraft issue was cleared up, just like I thought it would.)



It's around 4 am right now.

Clint joined me this evening (at the lake) and we've made a gazillion gallons of Beet Borscht. 

Chopping and slicing and dicing and grating and simmering and frying and it's been awesome. 


Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Thursday evening with Max, preparing care packages.

2. A "gift" day on Friday - day off with pay :) 

3. Friday night with Clint, making borscht. 

4. The people in my life who inspire and humble me. 

5. The way our churches have opened their doors to the homeless:

6. Sugar cookies, made for me, by Susan at The Cookie and Co.

Take care, stay safe, God bless,


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