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  • by Kay Kuehn, Executive Director

Yes, I DID do that!

Updated: Jan 30, 2020

"If it feels like the right thing to do, don't hesitate, don't regret, just act, you can make a difference." Have you heard words or read words like these ever before? Maybe it's my own paraphrasing but when I have come upon a circumstance where these words come into my mind it gives me two options. Act on it or regret it later because I didn't act. I was raised by parents who have taught me the mindset of doing the right thing, helping people when I can and treating people the way I would want to be treated. That leads me to share a story with you about a day when I decided to heed the voice within me that prompted me to act on a situation in a split second.

I'll set the scene for you. It was Wednesday, February 6 and very cold outside. I was on my way to work on the VERY crowded Green Line train from Central Station in St. Paul to my office. The seat directly across from me, facing me, was empty. The train stopped at the Dale Street Station. A young man about 25 years old got on. He was talking on his cell phone. He walked past me and then came back and motioned as if to ask if he could sit in the seat and I nodded my head yes. He sat down, he was on the verge of tears, and maybe had already cried some as he was wiping his eyes. He said to the person he was talking to, "They said if I don't show up at the church today then don't bother coming in, I won't have a job. I lost my driver's license, my debit card, my social security card. I haven't eaten for two days. Could you maybe just meet me at Walmart of Target and give me a little money, I'll pay you back. Mom? Mom?" He then really did begin to cry and clearly he had gotten disconnected on his call. As I listened and observed all of this I thought, I have a chance to do something, will I take it or let it go. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my wallet. All I had was a $20 bill. I folded it in half, stuck it between my fingers and handed it to him. He looked up at me. He said, "Really? Wow, thank you, I'll pay you back." I didn't say any words, just shook my head no (mainly because my mouth was covered by my scarf so he wouldn't have heard me well anyway). He looked down at his phone and then back to me and said, "Do you have a card, something with your phone number so I can repay you or thank you?" I gave him my business card. He got up at the next stop and walked off the train. Yes, it did feel right and I did do it and I don't care that it was $20 and someone might say, "Are you crazy, he's probably scamming or going to buy drugs or alcohol" because I really don't care. I did what I felt called to do and what felt right. If we take time to analyze every situation we encounter we will miss a lot in life, opportunities to do what we can to make this world a better place, just sayin'...

I am excited to share with you that Open Hands has a new Resource Referral program partner, Open Cities Health Center. I was connected to them in December through one of our church partners, Shepherd of the Hills. Open Cities offers Medical, Dental, Vision, Chiropractic, and Behavior Health services. No one is turned away if they cannot pay for services. Open Cities will work with you on a plan that fits your circumstances. The first Monday in January they came to our Monday Meal program to talk with guests and to volunteer. They come most Mondays and sometimes just act as volunteers doing whatever we need help with. It is a blessing to have them and we are grateful for yet another organization to partner with in the Midway area. If you would like to know more about them you can click here.

Soon it will be SPRING, at least on the calendar. I know thinking about Spring is hard when you look out your window and see all this snow. Call me crazy but I do like the snow. You have to admit that we were spoiled by such a mild winter in terms of snow up to this point. If you can hang in there for a few more weeks things will start to get better. It all excites me as I think we'll be transitioning into our summer programming, my favorite time of the year for many reasons. We will be moving meal services outside, I can start wearing shorts again and we'll have youth from all over coming to serve with us for eight weeks in June and July. As an extrovert, I just think what's not to be happy about there, just sayin'...

As I finish up sharing with you I want to say how blessed I have been for the past 4 years being the Executive Director of Open Hands. On January 1, 2019 I began my 5th year in this position which is very hard for me to believe. I look back on where we were when I started and we sure have made some incredible leaps of faith and served an incredible amount of guests. We are grateful for the ever flexible and welcoming people of Bethlehem Lutheran Church who so graciously allows us to remain housed in their facility. I would not be able to do this job without the help of my incredible Board of Directors, our cook, and most importantly our awesome VOLUNTEERS! Thank you for making Open Hands Midway such a great organization to be associated with, just sayin'...

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