My Daughter’s Giving Heart

Yesterday after church my daughter and I were walking through the streets of NYC towards Central Park. I had been telling her for hours that we could go and play, and we were only about two blocks from her long-awaited destination. We passed a woman holding a small child. She had a sign that said she needed money for diapers. My daughter asked me what the sign said. And when I told her, she asked if we could give them money. 

I wanted to tell her that we can’t give money to every homeless person we see in NYC. But I could tell she felt connected to these particular people. I told her “we can’t give them money. But we can get some diapers.” 

“OK. I don’t want to go to the park any more.” And then, “we should give them some food, too.”

“What if we got some milk for the little boy?”

“Yes. But the Mommy needs food too. We need to get food for both of them.”

We set out to find a Duane Reede. And, because this was NYC, we only had to go about a block. The moment we walked in the door she grabbed a basket and began to fill it. She grabbed two apples and two bottles of water. We got bread and peanut butter and milk. Then she found two warm hats, and asked if we could get a toy for the little boy. She picked out a cuddly Beanie Boo- a penguin with a Santa hat. We went downstairs to get the diapers. She carried the basket by herself down the escalator. It had to have been heavy for her. While I was getting the diapers, she grabbed some squeeze packets of vegetables. And three travel packages of tissues. At no point did she ask for anything for herself. 

As we walked back to where they were, I just prayed over and over. “Please let them still be there. Please let them still be there.” And they were. She walked up to them and said “we got some things for you.” I set down the bag, and we walked away. But not before I saw the look in the woman’s eyes. She was exhausted. 

And I knew. This was not a woman sitting on the street using her poor kid for bait to con money out of tourists. This was a woman who needed help. 

I have no idea what happened after that. I only know that she has enough diapers for maybe a week, and that at the very least they won’t be hungry today. I don’t know whether they have a place to live. I don’t know what series of events led them to that moment on the street. And I don’t know what will happen next week. 

What I do know is that yesterday, I got a good look inside my daughter’s heart. 

You have to understand. This is a kid who struggles. This is a kid who has trouble going to school every morning because of her learning issues. Who is prone to meltdowns because her anxiety is so bad that when the slightest detour happens she literally cannot. 

But despite her challenges, there is a plan for this little girl. And she seems to know that. 

I hesitated writing about this for fear it would come off as me announcing our charity. Rest assured that I had nothing to do with this. The best I can do is keep up with her. And as we enter another holiday season, I hope I can learn from my 6-year-old about what it means to be giving. 

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