bigish small news – what can 1 dollar really do?
Like in chess – sometimes you need to start playing the game and figure out the moves along the way – are you in?
Ben and I just started a virtual experiment, right here.
Often, experiments fail. Experiments are risky. Experiments push boundaries. Many times, experiments raise more questions than they answer. But in the end, something new is discovered.
It’s important to say right up front that we’re not setting out to solve any specific problem – but we do hope to discover something new – and maybe bring a little restoration along the way.
But first, let’s set the scene…the scene you forgot about…
You are walking down Market Street in Wilmington, DE (or call it Houston, TX or Los Angeles, CA or Detroit, MI). Everyone is moving quickly except you. Today you’re not in a hurry. You begin to look around and suddenly you feel out of place. It’s a cool day, but the sun feels warm. You look up for some reason, to find the sun. It’s right above you. You realize you forgot where you are headed – and you begin dodging people. They know where they’re going – “whoa that guy has a nice suit!”
You think, “Get your head out of the sky bro”. And you let these thoughts pass as melancholy begins to set in.
Rounding the corner, RIGHT in front of you is a man. He has distinct features. His face is especially worn. He looks right at you – right into your eyes – he says with a half smile “any spare change? I could use some.”
In a split second several thoughts run through your little mind. You react. Mostly with questions that you keep to yourself. It’s amazing how quickly your brain is working today, and how good you are at having a conversation with yourself.
“Is that alcohol I smell? Why is this guy bothering me? He should get a job. Really, why can’t he get a job? I have a job. He should get a job. Well maybe he has some kids at home, that could really use my change. Do I even have any change? I only have bills. I wonder if I have any dollar bills. But that would mean I’d have to stop and get out my wallet – and what if I only have fives? Then what do I do? What if he grabs my wallet? Maybe I should keep walking. Yeah – keep walking. Don’t make eye contact. That guy’s face looks worn. His cheeks look really worn. His shoes are pretty nice though.”
You keep walking. It’s your choice.
Since you’re melancholy today, you keep asking questions.
“Maybe I should turn around and talk to that guy. But wouldn’t that be even weirder at this point? It’s easier to keep walking – but now I feel bad. Why do I feel bad? I haven’t done anything wrong, have I? Man, I’m thinking too much today – I just need to stop thinking and remember where I was headed…what can a dollar really do anyway?”
You don’t answer your last rhetorical question.
So that’s the scene, can you relate? We can.
Maybe the person you walked by was Herman. We know Herman really could use your dollar. Let us introduce him…
This is a picture of Herman (right side) spanking Ben in chess, while Eden and I watch. Ben, what was it – 8 moves?
Ben and I take homeless people to lunch every Wednesday. We’ve discovered that in many ways, they take us to lunch. We’ve been at it for almost a year now, and it’s too much fun to stop. Our friends have joined in.
We met Herman last fall, and have had a great time getting to know him, and hearing his story.
We know where he hangs out, where he keeps his stuff – and how he helped raise his grand nephews while he lived with his niece. He likes chess, and his street name is Rue. He wears size 32-36 waist jeans. He doesn’t like riding far distances to buy pasta sauce. Thanks to Joanna and Ryan he has a tarp to keep his stuff dry. Thanks to Krissy – he has a sleeping bag. He’s been on a waiting list for a subsidized apartment since February 16, 2006. He’s still waiting. We’re trying to help him get on other lists. He’s turning sixty soon. He worked in a factory near the train station for most of his career, and now sees himself as retired.
He has a routine to keep himself moving and out of trouble. He’s a leader in his community, and police officers actually talk to him as a liaison to others that hang under Herman’s Bridge.
Ben is moving to Houston in June to start med. school, and we want to do something significant for Herman before then. We need your help.
The idea is simple – that a bunch of smalls would come together to make one big. Or maybe it’s better said that a bunch of smalls will come together to make a relatively bigish small. Got that?
This idea of a lot of smalls coming together comes right from Shane Claiborne – he describes it really well in his book Irresistible Revolution. Ben and I read Irresistible Revolution last summer. It challenged us to listen to Jesus’ words with new ears.
As I mentioned earlier – this is an experiment of sorts – and we don’t expect to solve world poverty here, or even to solve all of Herman’s problems. He has as many as Ben and I do. But if we have learned anything over the last year – it’s that we can help. We’re in a place to help. If you’re reading this – that means that you have access to a computer – and that you have time to read a random blog – and that you probably have a dollar in your wallet.
Go ahead and check, seriously. We’ll wait….
Good. So here’s the deal. We have some financial backing; someone has offered part of their tax refund to help Herman. They said that they would match up to $500 dollars for a onetime gift to help Herman.
Last night, I asked Eli how much we would have if one person gave $500 to Herman, and 500 people each gave $1 to him. Eli thought for a minute – and the light bulbs started to go off. “Herman would have $1000 dollars!”
I asked him, “Eli, are you in?”
He said, “Can I give 2 dollars?, then he’d have 1000 and one dollars.” (Seriously, I’m not making this up to be cute – that’s what he said. You can ask Libby)
I said to him, “No you can’t give me two dollars buddy – but you can give me one. Maybe you can think of your own idea on how to use your other dollar to help someone else.”
So I’m asking you to give Herman a dollar. That’s all.
You may have the same question Eli did: Can I give two? We’d rather you just give one. Be like Eli, and give your other dollar to someone else. If you live in the area – feel free to randomly walk up to me or Ben and hand us a dollar bill. We’ll know what to do. And it will become two.
Or, if you live in Texas (as many of my readers do) – you can use the PO box below.
This is a true 1 for 1 match, so if all seven of our readers each give a dollar (and we know that Eli is already in) – then we’ll buy something really nice for Herman with our 16 dollar bills. We’ll be creative and make sure it’s something nice.
We won’t give him a life-size cardboard check – we’ll talk to him – find his need – and then get something he can use. In other words, we’re not going to give Herman cash. We’re going to work with him to see how this money might help him best.
Our simple contract: You trust us and we’ll tell you the story. It’s simple.
A thousand dollars for Herman.
Are you in?
I hope 500 of you are.
Remember, this is a virtual blogging experiment. But it’s true. Feel free to be critical and not join in. Or, feel free to be critical and join in anyway. Or just join the game.
Follow these 3 simple steps:
- Comment here on this blog.
- Leave your first name and your city/state, or if you’re scared just leave your “street name” – and tell us “I’m in.”
- Follow through by sending $1 to:
PO Box 363
Montchanin, DE 19710-0363
Go tell 500 of your friends before June. Help us make this idea fly.
PS – in case you’re wondering – I checked, and it is legal to send cash in the mail. Just wrap it in a sheet of paper with a little note to Herman and we’ll see that he gets it. We’re giving grass roots a new definition. We’re going old school here. Or send a money order or check made out to “Terry Foester”.
One last thing – we’re doing this in Jesus’ name. Herman already knows this, but we want to help him understand.
Here’s the reality of the situation…it’s not our doing.
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them. 1 Samuel 2:8