What kind of a world do you want to live in? A story about a trip to the grocery store.

This post originally appeared in Charity Info’s eNEWS on December 12, 2014 Last Thursday night it was snowing pretty heavily. Begrudgingly, I had to stop and pick up a few groceries on the way home. As I rushed into the store to get out of the cold I saw a family doing the same. The mother was putting on a happy face, the tween looked miserable, as kids that age tend to, and the toddler and baby were a bit dishevelled and dazed. The baby’s clothes were soaked through, obviously from a leaky diaper. None of them had any coats on. It was a shocking sight and I politely tried not to stare as I suggested to the mother that a grocery cart from inside might not be as cold for her children to sit in. While shopping I crossed paths with that family several times. Each time we met I observed something different: The baby was relieved of her wet clothes and given a dry diaper – just a diaper – now she was naked. I heard the adolescent asking for chips and mother saying she didn’t know if they had enough money. Another woman had entered the scene and seemed to be providing assistance. As I started checking out I reflected on my shopping choices. Why did I buy THREE bags of chips if I was intending on starting another diet? Should I really get an $18.00 bottle of Canadian maple syrup that I had no immediate plans to use? AND what on earth could I do to help that naked baby? After all it was the week of Giving Tuesday and in spite of all the prompts for me to donate I had not been motivated to give anything…until I saw raw need right in front of me. “Could I please get a gift card as well?” I asked the cashier. Over my shoulder people were circling like hawks and staring at a woman with three cold tired children, one new, dry set of pyjamas and a small pile of groceries – no chips. The store was tense. Everyone was looking away, pretending not to see what was obvious. When I finished my shopping I bashfully cut across onlookers and approached the family. “I hope you don’t mind,” I said to the mother as I met her gaze head on “I wanted to buy you a gift card.” Her response: “Are you just…are you just…” (This is where I thought she would punch me.) “Are you just so nice? “ She quickly told me that her family had fled their home five hours north and just arrived in our town with only the clothes on their backs....

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