The Warmth of Our Hand
from Mother Teresa's A Simple Path
Love is not patronizing and charity isn't about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same--with charity you give love, so don't just give money but reach out your hand instead. When I was in London, I went to see the homeless people where our sisters have a soup kitchen. One man who was living in a cardboard box, held my hand and said, "It's been a long time since I felt the warmth of a human hand."
Mary, one of our volunteers has more ideas for reaching out to people:
"I've found that practical help can actually put people down unless it's done with love. No one wants to have things done for them, or be done to. I've also found trying to make contact with people has come in stages and that it has helped to do this in an organized way, like going to give the sisters a hand at the soup kitchen. Then it's best to try not to get too busy with giving out the food and clearing up the plates but to try to make a point of talking to somebody while you're there, or sitting down beside somebody--trying to make one-to-one contact. A lot of people carry photographs with them and so you can ask to see their photographs--or make a joke about their hairstyle--anything!"