When Love is Required

Photo by Erik Shute

In the spirit of November— and Thanksgiving!—  I’ll share an experience with you. Each year, my family provides the local homeless population with essential items like bottled water, food, backpacks, blankets, etc. More importantly, though, we do our best to provide love through conversations, hand shakes and hugs. An “I’ll be thinking of you!” often brings more joy than a new pair of sneakers.

Each person on the streets has a different story. Some are dismissed by their families. Others are drug addicts or alcoholics. Some have a lengthy criminal record. Others are out of work— and will remain out of work because of those criminal records.

Regardless, they’ve somehow created a hard and unfavorable life. They’re in need of a second (or third, or fourth, or even tenth chance) at getting things right. Simple gestures build confidence and morale within those hard-hit neighborhoods.

The photos below are from one of last year’s trips in Santa Monica. My friend, Erik Shute, captures the emotions so organically. You’ll notice that while these recipients appreciated the material items, what they needed even more was for someone to listen. For someone to care. And for someone to genuinely provide a moment of relief.

Charity work requires a lot more than your wallet. It requires your love— which, I’ve learned, is much harder to give.