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The Humble Humanity of Connecting with a Stranger

by John Mennell

Today, on the way to a coffee shop, I met a man sitting pressed into the corner of a stoop asking for spare change. I said I’d get him some on the way back and had already decided to add some fruit to it. Walking back from the store, I saw a man who I thought was him – now standing a couple blocks away – but I wasn’t sure. That’s a problem alone in the way it dehumanized this man in the sense of a knowing relationship and together being part of a neighborhood and community. Worse, the thought running through my mind was that, by moving from the stoop, he was “confusing me.” I am seeking ways to make our literacy work more direct and more personal by inviting the people I meet anywhere and everywhere to participate. I gave him my card and while walking away I heard him say thank you “John.” He has already acted the better part of our relationship. Tomorrow, I will ask him his name.

  • New York Foundling

    Foster Care
    18 boys and 24 girls
    New York, NY USA
    Needs: 42 Magazines
    Magazines Requested: LUCKY magazine, J-14, Popstar, Teen Voices, Girls Life and Sports related.

  • Crittenton Women’s Union

    501(c)(3) Charity
    Boston, MA
    Serving Mothers from age 19-40 and children from infant to 5 years old. Most of the children are between 1 and 2.5 years of age.
    Needs: New or recycled magazines for 58 mother and 52 children.
    Magazines Requested: Magazines appropriate for children and toddlers. Magazines about nature, fashion, beauty, exercise. African American specific and Latina specific magazines. Any general women’s interest magazines.

  • Bright Minds Nursery: Pre & Kindergarten School

    School or Library
    Lucea, Hanover, Jamaica
    Serving 48 females (ages 2-6yrs) and 35 males (ages 2-6 yrs)
    Magazines Requested: Letters, Numbers, Colors, Shapes, Spanish/ English, Mathematics etc..

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