Lenten Alms for the Poor and for the Environment
Lenten Alms for the Poor
+ Make a hospitality bag for the homeless. Take a paper lunch bag, and pack it with items useful for the homeless. Some possibilities include: small travel-sized soaps, lotions, shampoos, toothpaste, a tooth brush, a dry wash cloth rolled up in a plastic ziplock bag, some dry candy, a "moist toilette", individual packages of aspirin, ibuprofen, or tylenol, packaged peanut butter or cheese and crackers, vienna sausage, a candy bar, socks, individual sized kleenex. Please include a holy card, rosary, or other Catholic devotional item, and write a short note to the person receiving the bag, sign it only with your first name and city (i.e. Robert, Oklahoma City). While most of the people we see are male, there are women on the streets too, and so we need some hospitality bags targeted for women, with women's necessaries inside. (If you make a bunch for us, identify which are for anybody, which are specifically for women). We give these away every week to homeless people on the streets of Oklahoma City. We also suggest that you carry a few with you in your car and give them to those standing on the side of the road with signs that say "will work for food."
+ Take personal responsibility for feeding the hungry. People get hungry every week of the year, not just at Christmas and Thanksgiving. Every time you go shopping, buy something for the poor. In our particular case, we deliver food to people in need who don't have transportation. The most useful items to donate for our food security activities are: beans, rice, pasta (1 lb), canned spaghetti sauce (28 or so ounces), peanut butter (18 ounce), canned vegetables, soups, ramen noodles, cornbread mix, flour, sugar, coffee, tea, tuna, powdered milk, quart and gallon size zip lock bags. Organize food drives at your parish or school.
+ Other items we distribute to the poor: socks (new or used, if used, please wash and match them as pairs), winter coats, gloves, caps/hats, blankets, towels, wash cloths, electric frying pans, hot plates, toaster ovens, microwaves, toasters, coffee makers, electric heaters, ventless propane heaters, kerosene heaters. At this time, we are not clothing items other than those mentioned here, but this can change, please feel free to call and inquire as to our needs.
Lenten Alms for the Environment
Live simply, that others may simply live. (Mother Theresa of Calcutta)
+ Eating is a moral act. Join the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. Buy local produce, grow some of your own food, and don't buy junk food. Look for opportunities to buy food directly from local farmers. Patronize locally owned restaurants, avoid franchised fast food. A lot of the hamburger from the national fast food chains is imported from countries where rain forests are being destroyed to provide pasture for cattle. Cook meals from basic ingredients, avoid the high priced prepared and highly processed foods and their dubious ingredients.
+ Drive less, walk or take public transportation more. When you do drive, go slow and don't be aggressive. Obey a self imposed speed limit of 55 MPH on the highways. Fast from driving one full day each week. Don't fly anywhere in an airplane unless there simply is no other way to get there, it's one of the most environmentally damaging ways to travel. Take the bus or the train for inter-city trips.
+ Reduce your energy consumption. Replace your incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent. Don't accumulate electronic gadgets. Use only rechargeable batteries, never buy non rechargeable batteries for any electronic device. Audit your household's energy use, and take practical steps to reduce the cost and amount of energy you use. Turn the thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer. Dress for the season indoors as well as outdoors. Super-insulate and weatherize your property.
+ Fast from waste and gluttony. Use Less Stuff! And thus, Throw Away Less Stuff! Find meaning and fulfillment in spirituality and relationships with your family, friends, and neighbors, not in the amount of stuff you have. Avoid buying new stuff, patronize the "aftermarket" in thrift shops, garage sales, and flea markets. Be frugal, make a budget and stick to it, and keep track of your expenditures. Instead of buying gifts, give something that you made yourself. Never try to make the giving of "stuff" a substitute for love and involvement. Look for minimally packaged products. Reduce, reuse, recycle, make do, do without. Compost all organic waste like leftovers, grass clippings, leaves, and other yard waste.
+ Flee the debt bondage system. The Bible says, "the borrower is the slave of the lender." If you have credit cards, pay them off every month. Every month, pay a little extra on the principle of your mortgage, even if it is only $40 or $50. Once you get your housing paid off, never obligate it for debt again. Don't take out a second mortgage to pay other debt unless this offers serious interest savings, and then do everything you can to pay off the first and second mortgages well in advance of their due dates. Don't buy consumer goods via installment payment plans. Make payments to your savings account and then, when you have enough money, buy what you need (car, appliances, etc.)
Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House
1524 NW 21st + Oklahoma City 73106 + 405-557-0436
http://www.justpeace.org + http://www.bettertimesinfo.org + http://www.energyconservationinfo.org + www.oklahomafood.org