The bottom line

She walked up to me after a church service. “Can we talk,” she said. We stepped away from the crowd. “Can I have some toilet paper? We’re out at home.”

She knew we had a closet with paper goods. We got it for a few cents a pound from a local non-profit that distributed paper and personal products and diapers and cleaning goods. They got it for the price of shipping from the returns center for a major discount chain. It was a great deal. Toilet paper by the pound is cheap.

How did the returns center get it? Because packages snag. Because things get returned. Because people go to the store and need toilet paper. They open a big package and take one roll.

A couple months ago, the returns center closed. This week, the non-profit closed. But people still need toilet paper.

Not all of us, of course. Some of us can afford to throw it into trees, rolls at a time. Some of us have both dry and wet tissues.

But some of us have to ask for help, quietly away from the crowd. People with kids, or medical bills, or other challenges. People with full hearts and empty hands and cupboards.

I know that there are a variety of reasons that people can’t afford things we consider basic. But I also know that it’s pretty easy to meet basic needs. Giving away two rolls of every twenty we buy would help.

I knIMG_0011ow. You could just buy a package with the equivalent of 72 rolls, or a case of facial tissue, or a pallet of paper towel. And be done with it. And food banks or shelters or churches with helping hands like ours would be grateful.

But I think that a weekly or monthly sharing would keep the need fresh in our minds. And just think. Several times a day we’d have a reminder to pray for people who need things like toilet paper.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

8 thoughts on “The bottom line

  1. AMEN AMEN AMEN. And it’s kind of like how God gives us what we need, when we need it and it keeps us coming back to Him…

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  2. Jon . . . re “we”, yes, all three . . . but needs are far from met, and I hear (even) Christians begrudgingly discuss the use of “their” money to help the poor, especially the unemployed and the chronically poor. Is there a huge disconnect between God, the well-to-do, and the poor? Certainly God has a plan for the poor, but the poor must often feel hopeless while they wait . . .

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  3. I hadn’t heard about the non-profit closing. It was an amazing ministry (sometimes I miss those days there), and it met the needs of sooo many other non-profits throughout Indiana (and Illinois).
    Praying for the former staff.

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