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 know. 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.