I spent Sunday afternoon this weekend at a local soup kitchen with some people from my church. I did not particularly want to go, but backing out at the last minute seemed shallow and selfish, even for me, and so I went, and handed out bananas and oranges and rolls. It was humbling, and gratifying, and I am stunned, once again, by how a minute effort on my part translates into something so vital to someone else. I'm going back.
Here's the other thing that stuns me: According to the US Department for Veterans Affairs, on any given night, more than 200,000 veterans are homeless. Veterans make up, conservatively, a third of the homeless population. At the same time, we're on track to spend 96 BILLION dollars on the Iraq war this year. I'm no math major, but it seems like maybe we could earmark a percentage of that money to, oh, say, provide housing, food, and health care for the people who have already served our country.
It seems like a far more fitting remembrance than a sale at the mall.