• Post category:Insight

Today someone offered me a piece of a chocolate donut … and it made me cry.

I spent this morning at Manna House in midtown Memphis, which offers hospitality, showers, change of clothes, coffee and rest to area homeless persons. After we served coffee, provided showers and dispensed basic toiletries, socks and clean clothes, we spent some time in the back yard, just talking and listening to our guests.

One man talked about how hot Memphis is in summer, and that he really wants to find a place to sleep inside before it gets too hot. Another told me which alley he sleeps in. Both had come into the backyard at Manna House with sack lunches and quickly began making trades: a peanut butter sandwich for a brownie, ham for a bag of chips. One of the men spent a good minute or so driving a hard bargain for a donut. Then he sat down, began to unwrap it and before he took a bite, he offered a bite to me.

He knows I’m not homeless. I’m obviously a middle-class white woman and I wore a nametag that identified me as a volunteer. But he offered me the first bite of his donut. Not what was left over when he finished it. Not the donut he didn’t want. The donut he negotiated and traded for. The first bite.

One of the founders of Manna House explained to me that the name comes from the manna God sent from heaven to feed the Israelites after they left Egypt. (Exodus 16) He sent it each day; just enough for that day, no more, no less, and instructed them not to gather more than they needed. They trusted Him to provide the next day. In much the same way, Manna House meets the daily needs of its guests; their mission is not to solve all problems, but to meet daily needs: basic hygiene, clean socks, a good cup of coffee and companionship — for that day.

I don’t know why my donut friend offered me the first bite; why didn’t he keep it for himself? He may or may not get another donut any time soon; I can buy a dozen without a second thought. Why was he so willing to share with me?

Maybe a better question is: why are so many of us unwilling to share what we proudly call ours? Our money, our home, our time.

We turn our heads and our hearts away and refuse to give of our abundance, while this man offers the first bite.

Food for thought, isn’t it?

Image above: Orange Spice Chocolate Donut by Quintana Roo

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. gjduke

    You & Jim must have taught her well.

  2. beth g sanders

    I wish I could take credit for the volunteering – my 17-year-old daughter was my inspiration; she's been to Manna House many times – that's what made me finally go!

  3. gjduke

    Beth

    We are so blessed. Hopefully, like your volunteering, we can be a blessing to others some of the time.

    Gary

  4. gjduke

    You & Jim must have taught her well.

  5. beth g sanders

    I wish I could take credit for the volunteering – my 17-year-old daughter was my inspiration; she's been to Manna House many times – that's what made me finally go!

  6. gjduke

    You & Jim must have taught her well.

  7. beth g sanders

    I wish I could take credit for the volunteering – my 17-year-old daughter was my inspiration; she's been to Manna House many times – that's what made me finally go!

  8. Gary

    Beth

    We are so blessed. Hopefully, like your volunteering, we can be a blessing to others some of the time.

    Gary

  9. gjduke

    Beth

    We are so blessed. Hopefully, like your volunteering, we can be a blessing to others some of the time.

    Gary

  10. beth g sanders

    Thank you for love, your servant's heart and your dedication and commitment. And for your patience with me! I will definitely be back!

  11. Kathleen Kruczek

    Beth,
    Thank you for your work today and for sharing this story! Hope to see you again this summer.
    Peace,
    Kathleen

  12. beth g sanders

    Thank you for love, your servant's heart and your dedication and commitment. And for your patience with me! I will definitely be back!

  13. Kathleen Kruczek

    Beth,
    Thank you for your work today and for sharing this story! Hope to see you again this summer.
    Peace,
    Kathleen

  14. Alison

    Your words warmed my heart. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Alison

    Your words warmed my heart. Thank you for sharing.

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