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On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, my 12-year old granddaughter and I, accompanied by the mother-son team who joined us last year, will set forth on the streets of downtown Toronto to deliver cash into the hands of the homeless and the hungry whom we meet there. This will be our fourth year doing this, our second year sponsored by Orthodoxy in Dialogue.

Two-thirds of the way through the Nativity Fast, 48 very kind people have brought us to almost half of our goal of $5000. With your help, in whatever amount the Spirit moves you, we can reach our target.

Last year we collected enough to give $40 each to 50 people. We have set a higher goal this year in the hope of giving a larger amount to a larger number of people. The money you provide is not only all that stands between them and a hot meal or two (or three), but between them and a chance to come in from the cold.

Here’s a story from last year: 

Two men and one woman in their early to mid 20s sat shivering in the frigid air on the sidewalk at Yonge and Dundas, wrapped in thin blankets and leaning against the outside of the Eaton Centre. Well-dressed people scurried this way and that, perhaps on their way to do last minute shopping, or to meet friends at an elegant, candlelit restaurant, or even to attend an early Christmas Eve service at church. Everywhere, coloured lights and sparkling tinsel beckoned the moneyed to come in, spend, enjoy, feel welcome.

We approached the three forlorn young people. When we put two twenties into the hands of the first, they all said “Wow” quietly under their breath. When we put the same amount into the hands of the second one, they gasped. When we did the same for the third one—the young woman—tears streamed suddenly down her face and she cried out, “We can eat today!” The two men started crying. The four of us started crying.

One of the young men said to me, ever so gently and humbly, “May I shake your hand?”

For you see, they craved not only something to eat, not only some place warm to eat it, but a fleeting moment of human touch with someone who cared, someone who loved them, however inadequate and transient our love for them. All four of us shook hands heartily with all three of them.

And when we finished for the evening, we four, we came away knowing that, in trying to be Christ, we had met Him face to face, many times over, and that He had blessed us infinitely more than we had given to Him in the least of His brothers and sisters.

Please help us help them. Have a look at our original announcement here. Have a look at our GoFundMe page here. Ask just one friend or family member to join you in making a gift. Share this post or our GoFundMe page widely with your email and social media contacts.

Whatever the amount you can give, great or small, the Lord sees your heart and blesses your offering.

Don’t forget also to pray for the success of this endeavour, and for the well-being of everyone we meet along the way.

With love in Christ who comes soon to be born,

Giacomo Sanfilippo

Addendum: We received an anonymous $1000 donation in the same instant that this post was published.