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  1. What a thoughtful and beautiful idea to include Hurricane Harvey on your website. We’ve all been hearing the term “FAITH to POWER” recently, and that’s what you’re doing! I’ll be signing up for your Bible Study at Calvary Church in Westlake Village, California. Thank You for your inspiration.

    • I was horrified when I read the story of the eight year old boy and the “ugly dishes” he was given when he and his family lost everything. They were living with his Grandmother. My thoughts immediately went to the woman who gave the dishes. She could have taken them to a thrift store but was thoughtful and gave them to this ungrateful eight year old. I can understand why his mother was crying, but then should there not have been a lesson for this boy to learn. I was not inspired or in (couraged) by this post at all.

      • We too lost everything in a cross country move. Staying with relatives for over a year and I think this story represents giving God our best!! That starts in the heart! My attitude is much different after being the one in need. 😉 Even now we face a foreclosure & my husband was hospitalized with a condition that will be life long if the Lord doesn’t supernaturally heal him. In my brokenness I now give my best because my eyes are open to what it’s like to be needy. Please ask the Lord to open your perspective on this matter. I’m only trying to help!
        I almost didn’t respond. May the Lord bless! We should be thankful & yet be careful to reach out to the needy with God’s love and provision.

        • Hi there — I wanted to let you know that I responded to this concern in a comment in this thread but wanted to share it again to make sure you were able to see it and and hope you hear our hearts on this issue.

          We’re always grateful to hear different perspectives. And in this case, we wanted to highlight what it feels like to be on the receiving instead of the giving end of good will. While we can completely appreciate the kindness and good intention with which hand me downs are given (of course we’ve all given these and taught our kids lessons from giving), what we sometimes never imagine is what it can feel like to receive them when you’ve lost every scrap of your own physical life story and your whole life becomes one big hand me down. I’d personally never imagined it from that perspective. And while of course there’s a place for donating well used and well loved items we no longer need, we wanted to also stand with the thousands of people who will now be seeing life through very different eyes. And simply invite our community to keep that in mind as we plan our donations – both new and recycled.

          With warm wishes
          Lisa-Jo Baker
          (in)courage community manager

      • Hi there Ann,

        Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. We’re always grateful to hear different perspectives. And in this case, we wanted to highlight what it feels like to be on the receiving instead of the giving end of good will. While we can completely appreciate the kindness and good intention with which hand me downs are given (of course we’ve all given these and taught our kids lessons from giving), what we sometimes never imagine is what it can feel like to receive them when you’ve lost every scrap of your own physical life story and your whole life becomes one big hand me down. I’d personally never imagined it from that perspective. And while of course there’s a place for donating well used and well loved items we no longer need, we wanted to also stand with the thousands of people who will now be seeing life through very different eyes. And simply invite our community to keep that in mind as we plan our donations – both new and recycled.

        I hope you hear our hearts in this.
        warmly
        Lisa-Jo Baker
        (in)courage community manager

      • I took this post as a reminder that God calls us to give our best. First fruits. Always interesting to hear other perspectives, though.

  2. Oh the stories I could tell about donations…… Thanks for shining this light on a problem most (without malice) just don’t think about!

    • Thank you for hearing the authors heart, Karen. You are absolutely right – without a hint of malice, just a new way to look at things.

      Blessings.

  3. I think many times people give away their leftovers and then feel so good about how much they “helped” when in truth there was no sacrifice to what they gave. The story about the widows mite, the widow giving all she had to the poor, while the rich gave a small percentage of what they had but made fun of her little comes to mind.

    But with that said, the author is missing something really important when it comes to the story of the dishes above. And that is, until recently, when the lady in the story was finally able to purchase new dishes, the ugly dishes were good enough for her. This isn’t her “trash”. These are dishes that she used up until she was finally able to purchase new ones. Presumably just like the authors family would do. She wasn’t giving them any less than she had expected of herself, which was to use these “ugly” dishes until they were able to buy better.

    I’m very careful when gifting things to those in need- I wouldn’t dream of giving away anything less than what I would buy for my own family. But at the same time, the jeans with the holes in the knee I’m throwing away rather than donating are not “too good” for my son, he’s worn them with the holes for months now, since he wore them through soon after buying. Im throwing them away because he finally outgrew them. And presumably the brand new jeans I’m buying to donate will looks exactly the same after 3 months of little-boy-use! I’ve taken to giving a combination of new and old. Some new outfits plus a bag of hand me downs which I explain that the recipient is welcome to toss, but I thought might serve a purpose as play clothes. Is that politically correct, who knows! I’m sure someone could read into it, but the heart is right.

    I’ve received many a hand me down that are worn, faded or not my style, only to have the giver share with me how the outfit is worn because it’s their child’s favorite, and they wore it all the time and the giver thought that my child might enjoy it just as much. Sometimes it’s true, others- they’re enjoyment of the item and their memories are clouding their view of the condition of the item, and my child may never wear that outfit but I’m still blessed to know that they wanted to share a favorite with us.

    I’m bringing this up to point out that yes! People give with bad attitudes, and no sacrifice simply to make themselves feel good. But at the same time those hole-y clothes might very well have been enjoyed by the givers own child just days before donating. Giving can be done tastefully, and thoughtfully, but so can receiving, and sometimes dignity comes from realizing the true heart of the people who care, and choosing to be blessed despite the circumstances.

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to share this perspective Meg. I think many of us can relate on every level. I’ll just share one other perspective from a comment I left above:

      In this case, we wanted to highlight what it feels like to be on the receiving instead of the giving end of good will — particularly when it’s not just one or two items but your whole life that now feels like a hand me down. While we can completely appreciate the kindness and good intention with which hand me downs are given (of course we’ve all given these and taught our kids lessons from giving), what we sometimes never imagine is what it can feel like to receive them when you’ve lost every scrap of your own physical life story and your whole life becomes one big hand me down. I’d personally never imagined it from that perspective. And while of course there’s a place for donating well used and well loved items we no longer need, we wanted to also stand with the thousands of people who will now be seeing life through very different eyes. And simply invite our community to keep that in mind as we plan our donations – both new and recycled.

      I hope you hear our hearts in this.
      warmly
      Lisa-Jo Baker
      (in)courage community manager

  4. Denise I’m haunted by this story. How I wish I could go back in time and take that little girl’s mom to Target and let her pick out dishes and sheets and glasses and joy. Thank you for sharing this hard memory with us. May it help us get better at giving our best instead of our leftovers.

  5. Take Heart Ministries out of Waco, TX seeks to give dignity to homeless women. We are focusing our efforts currently on the unseen and forgotten needs of pads and tampons for our friends affected by Harvey. This is something a woman would not plan for when evacuating but is a regular need. We hope to help the shelters by providing this to them so that women can have dignity and health during this trial.

    We would love for you to donate at http://www.takeheartministry.org. It is secure and 100% of all proceeds go to buying products. Feel free to notate that your gift is for Harvey.

  6. Well, Ann, I get both your point and Denise’s. These donations are such a mixed bag.
    I’ll take yours first, Ann. The party line is ‘how resilient children are’. The truth is, it depends on the child. A deeply sensitive child may bear the scar for life. The loss of their entire household goods, photograph albums, Denise’s beloved toys and books, the material fabric of their marriage – I can’t imagine how traumatic that would be for her parents, and, in sensing their shock and pain, for Denise.
    In my experience, when churches call for donations of goods and clothing, the decent is mixed with the dreadful. The smell alone is off-putting. So I can easily imagine the small girl’s revulsion. The dishes may have been the last straw for her mother, prompting the tears. However, a small girl wouldn’t realise they may not have been tears of mortification or anger. Surely if the dishes were so nasty, Denise’s mother could have said, “Thanks, but Grandma does have dishes, all that we need.” (Or discreetly disposed of them)

    Denise, you don’t say anything of the historical time. Why did you cross the country? Because of the Depression or because your father had been drafted? Maybe your mother preferred to use those dishes all that time, rather than squander money on new ones, preferring to wait until the family got on a stable financial footing. I do think you’re stretching the milk of human kindness a little, suggesting the woman donate her brand new dishes! :). Your suggestions to help those bereft by Hurricane Harvey are excellent. Better to make a money donation, however small, to a trustworthy company, thus ensuring what is most needed may be provided.
    Both you and Ann have valid points. I’ll close by quoting what I remember from a column by Monica Dickens, the great-granddaughter of Charles. She was sorting out clothing sent in response to a church charity drive. The items donated were ridiculous and would useless to the children for whom they were intended. Frilly taffeta party dresses, little soft leather slippers for girls, equally ornate outfits for boys. These all came from rich people, Miss Dickens noted, who were too mean to send the warm woollen skirts, jerseys, trousers, socks and coats which really would have helped the children of poverty-stricken East London.
    May all those affected by Harvey find the help they need, now and in the future.

  7. Growing up, I lived in the country outside a small town. When a “neighbor” who was a friend of my aunt had a fire and lost everything, I remember my mom inviting them into our home. She had laid out the clothes we weren’t wearing that she thought might work for their daughter, and she let them choose what they wanted. It gave that mom agency and let her have some choice. Mom also told us beforehand that we were going to give her toys of her choosing, not our choosing. She let us set aside our favorites, but the girl was given a chance to pick a new toy and left clinging to it. It was a small thing, but now I realize that she was trying to give them a chance to start over with things that they liked, that were secondhand, but not cast-offs. There is a difference.

  8. I think I understand the main point of the writer, however reading this post honestly made me very sad. Please consider the kind woman who did the giving as well, like the writer said she did it ever so cheerfully, and it sounds like she did it from the bottom of her heart. In insulting her dishes, you have insulted her own taste as well! The “ugly dishes” she gave were more than likely not ugly to her, as she had used them willingly for a while, before she finally bought new ones. The dishes did come in handy to this family – they used it for two years as they could not afford to buy new dishes! Som did she not do something good? I would say she did, and I imagine God blessed her for it. You say she probably had a whole house full of stuff. How do you know??? Maybe she lived in a little shack that was not even as nice as your rental home! Maybe she was extremely poor and up to her neck in bills, and could have sold those dishes for $5 and used them to buy herself a meal! Let us not make assumptions about what people have or do not have. Maybe she could have afforded to give something more “beautiful”, but she didn’t, does that make her evil? No. At least she stepped out and gave *something useful*. How about those who gave absolutely nothing??? I think we can all be more giving (God help us), but my my my I think we can also all be more grateful.

    • PS Also wanted to say, I hope the woman who cheerfully gave her dishes to a family in need, never stumbles on this post. I can’t imagine how hurt she would be if she were to read this. How sad. This post could also discourage people from giving at all, for fear of having their stuff being labeled “ugly” or their act being labeled as “not good enough.” Thankfully, God sees the heart. And God rewards us in His own way. Glad the story had a happy ending for the family though:)!

      • I was happily giving away my stuff in the past, many of them really in good condition, until I heard from someone who was in ministry of redistributing giveaways to the needy folks. Suddenly, what was good enough for me wasn’t good enough anymore. (I gave away things that were in excess or no longer used, e.g. baby equipments, not worn out.) I stopped giving after that.

    • Hi there — I wanted to let you know that I responded to this concern in a comment in this thread but wanted to share it again to make sure you were able to see it and and hope you hear our hearts on this issue.

      We’re always grateful to hear different perspectives. And in this case, we wanted to highlight what it feels like to be on the receiving instead of the giving end of good will. While we can completely appreciate the kindness and good intention with which hand me downs are given (of course we’ve all given these and taught our kids lessons from giving), what we sometimes never imagine is what it can feel like to receive them when you’ve lost every scrap of your own physical life story and your whole life becomes one big hand me down. I’d personally never imagined it from that perspective. And while of course there’s a place for donating well used and well loved items we no longer need, we wanted to also stand with the thousands of people who will now be seeing life through very different eyes. And simply invite our community to keep that in mind as we plan our donations – both new and recycled.

      With warm wishes
      Lisa-Jo Baker
      (in)courage community manager

  9. In Courage,

    I understand both the boy’s & mother’s side of things. The boy heard that he was given left overs. Mom was sort of glad to have anything & yet had left overs. They were both frustrated at the life situation. I always try to give “new” items to families/people who have lost everything. This is what God would do. I will be praying for everyone in Houston area. This is a terrible situation. So much loss. May God heal everyone & bring peace to the area.

    Blessings 🙂

  10. I am sorry to say I really cannot agree with this story. I understand that it is to share the perspective of the receiver and I totally am all for giving with sensitivity and not treat charity as an alternative dumping ground for our trash. However, this story stinks of ungratefulness. No matter how I see it and try to understand, there is just no other way to say it. It would have been different if, say, what was given was things like mended-beyond-mending clothes, or chipped plates, or expired food. But to get upset about something over the look of it is just unjustifiable when one is depending on the charity of others. Is the design really so insulting to the receiver? Please, apparently it was fine for the giver until she bought new ones.

    At the beginning of our married life, my husband and I received hand-downs from friends and relatives. We might not like everything we got but we made do until we were able to purchase what we liked, and we were thankful that we could be spared the expenses that we otherwise would have to incur. We did received some baby blankets that were so discoloured we weren’t even able to tell whether they were originally meant for boy or girl (looked nothing like blue nor pink, more like grayish). We just put them away instead of taking offence.

    The thing is whether we receive what we receive as if from God or from men. This applies to every one of us, everything we receive, be it our salary, or gifts (not donations), or charity. Do we give thanks to God for all that we receive and look to Him as our provider and our source, or are we looking to men? For me, I would like my posture to always be one of thankfulness. All the time. Whether in prosperity or poverty.