i've always felt like a lucky person. i've been spoiled and humbled by my parents and am blessed with all of the things i have. when i was 10 (i told you that i always say i was 10 in childhood stories! remember?) i started getting allowance. but not without doing chores. when i was sixteen i was given a car. but not without driving my brother around as well. when i was 18 my tuition for college was paid for. but not without maintaining good grades. when i was 21 and in x-ray school, i lived with my parents rent free. with the promise that i was making the right career moves. and when i was 27 i was gifted a very generous amount of money to help me with the down payment for a house. but not without knowing they'd raised a daughter that wouldn't take them for granted. i've always felt like too many people take for granted the things they've been handed. and i know i never want to be one of those people.
every christmas morning, for the past six years, i've handed out bagged lunches to San Francisco's homeless. see, my family has never really been big on celebrating holidays and as you all know, nearly everything is closed on christmas day. on most christmases i found myself watching loads of tv and being lazy. one day years ago i decided that if i had nothing better to do, i should take that time and give a little back to the world.
since then, every year i make bagged lunches for about 35 or so homeless. i take my mom's costco card and get all of the ingredients there. this year the lunch consisted of a pb&j sandwich, a granola bar, trail mix (walnuts, dried pomegranate, and chocolate), goldfish, an orange and a bottle of water. in years past it consisted of things like cookies, chips and boxed juice. but (friggin believe it or not) while handing out the lunches i've heard things like "i have diabetes" and "don't you know nothin' bout celiac disease?" last year plenty of people asked if i had clean water. so this year i changed things up and gave them a bit healthier a meal.
i, along with whoever wants to accompany me for that day, drive around the empty streets of SF in search of the homeless. sometimes we hand them bags through the window of our car and sometimes i'll run out and drop a bag off by their feet if they're asleep. it's a simple task, really.
but don't be fooled. although i'm doing a nice thing for people, it isn't as if i get nothing in return. if anything, it makes me feel like a better person in general. it's humbling to view the torturous life of those living out on the streets. it forces you to value simple things such as heat and clean water. plus, often times you get pleasant smiles in return, very nice "happy holidays," or a "thank god. bless your soul." and while those words are always nice to hear, it wouldn't matter if nobody said "thank you." i would still go out and hand the bags out anyway. it's become a tradition of mine. this year, with my grandfather's funeral held on christmas eve, i was going to skip handing out the lunches. but as the day got nearer i began feeling almost guilty for wanting to forgo the tradition. but i decided the day prior to the funeral that i was going to buy the food and follow up with a sixth year. i corralled my cousins to help me make sandwiches and put the lunch bags together. the next morning i kept tradition alive!
it's always a positive thing to be grateful and give a little back to the world.