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  • Wendell Francis

Levite Alms' stories

On October 13, 2013, my sister (partner of Levite Alms) and I went into manhattan to hand out food/drink to people in need and do fundraising. We decide to go to 23 street and Broadway at Madison Avenue park. If people aren't familiar with this park, I must tell you, there are usually people in need sitting in and outside of the park. I must admit, this was our first time doing a fundraiser. We always use our own money (non-donated) to fund our distributions to the needy. Since we have an almost non-existent source of finance it can be difficult to provide regularly to the needy. So, we set up our little red shopping cart and tan fold-out table ready for action. Attached to the cart was a handwritten sign saying, "Fundraiser" and underneath, "Levite Alms".

On the table, we had items, such as, a pouch of Capri Sun juice, a small box of soy milk, an individually wrapped croissant, packets of coffee, packets of honey blended peanut butter and small containers of Pringles displayed for those who would like to donate. Once a person donates a specific amount for a certain item, they receive that item. As an hour passed we noticed people observing our display and sign but no one seemed interested. Then, my sister suggested that I convey to passerby's verbally who we are, and what we're doing. Still, no one gave us much attention. While we were there during the first hour, needy people would walk by and we handed out some tuna sandwiches, turkey and swiss sandwiches, bottles of water, juice pouches and packets of deodorant wipes. We felt quite at home when freely giving without receiving anything. After a short moment of describing Levite Alms and our cause to pedestrians, the description morphed into a sermon. This is where people's attention really changed for the worst because, within the sermon it revealed the truth about people's selfish side. I know what you're thinking but, it had to be done. What was said wasn't about being upset that people didn't want to donate or be attentive to us. The hope was to provide reality to those who were trying to escape it. People should understand that sermons are tailored to pierce the hearts of those who refuse to accept their flaws. The truth hurts. After a little more than an hour had passed we finally decided to leave and hand out more food and refreshments. Close to the end of our journey, we passed by a few unfortunate people sleeping/laying outside of a church. We saw a young man who was awake and offered him some of what we had. After he accepted, he felt the urge to open up about himself and the things he would like to do for others in need. We have noticed that more people in need tend to want or try to support others in need. When we initially arrived at Madison Avenue park we handed out some food and refreshments to a woman who immediately spoke of other places we could go to help those in need. We finally made it to Penn Station and handed out the last of what we were providing for free. We are not claiming to be better than anyone or thing. We are just an example to the many who think it's impossible to give. The message is, try!

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