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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.

  • Street Youth Ministry

    501(c)(3) Charity
    Austin, TX, USA
    Needs: 20 magazines per week
    Magazines Requested: Car, Cooking, Traveling, Gardening, Organic Farming, Science, Nature, Body Building, and Religion magazines.

  • Casa Ramona Academy for Technology, Community, and Education

    School or Library
    San Bernardino, CA
    Need magazines for 22 males and 18 females between the ages of 11-16 years old
    Magazines Requested: Boys Life, Girls Life, National Geographic, Odyssey, Dig, Owl, Cobblestone, Ask en EspaƱol, Faces, Jack and Jill

  • A New Leaf

    501(c)(3) Charity
    Mesa, Arizona, USA
    Serving girls and boys ages 12 to 17 with reading levels 6th grade and up
    Needs enough magazines for 10 girls and 16 boys
    Magazines Requested: Any sports magazines, any car magazines, any fashion magazines, and any entertainment magazines

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