Our morning here at the Church World Service office was going as it usually does – answering email, meeting with colleagues in person or constituents over the phone – when a man walked in the door.
Our receptionist talked with him first – and then she called me. “I have a man up here who wants to donate to CWS. Are you the one he should talk with?” We generally process donations via electronic means or telephone calls, so handling an in-person donation is unusual.
We talked briefly about who else might want to take his donation, but decided that I should be the one.
I grabbed a donation sheet and walked across the office to the front desk. There I saw a slim man who looked like he was in his mid-50s, with stubble on his face and wearing working man’s clothes. He didn’t smile and seemed serious and a little shy. We shook hands.
He handed me a ten dollar bill. “I work close by,” he said. “I don’t go to church, but I consider myself a religious man. God put it on my heart to donate to you.”
I took the bill and asked him to put his information down on the donation sheet. “Do you have an idea where you want your donation to go?” I asked him.
“No,” he said.
“Maybe just where most needed?” I asked.
“Yes. That’s fine.”
I was curious about why he came in now to give. “God just put it on my heart to stop in.” Then he added, “I should have come in earlier.” His body language seemed to indicate that he thought he should have answered the call sooner. “But I’ll come back again and give more.”
After he left, the receptionist and I looked at each other. My eyes were misty. “Wasn’t that cool?” we asked each other almost in unison. In our daily lives, it’s not often that we are touched personally by those who want to give to Church World Service. But to see a man want to give to help others because of his need to be faithful to his God is a wonderful experience.
Ten dollars isn’t a lot of money, but donations add up. It made the two of us realize – again – what a wonderful organization we work for and how it touches others – both those who receive and those who want to give. We were certainly touched by the giving of this one man.
Jackie Carlson is the Program Interpretation Specialist in CWS’s Elkhart, Indiana office.