A Reflection on the Meaning of Kindness
Most I know are familiar with the work of Crisis Aid International (see Africa Trip Anniversary post). Many are less familiar with the work of my mother, who runs Love and Care Youth Center in Saint Louis. Love and Care Youth Center was founded in 1983, by a French woman, Mina Paille. Mina immigrated to Saint Louis and started Love and Care Youth Center to feed and assist low income families. My mother volunteered with Mina for eighteen years and when Mina passed several years back, she asked my mother to continue her work under the umbrella of Crisis Aid International.
“The Center” as we affectionately call Love and Care, hosts a church service and food distribution every Friday afternoon. They run an after school tutoring program on Thursday evenings for children in the neighborhood. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, they feed over 200 families and provide gifts for the children. Most of the people “The Center” serves come from broken familes and have experienced abuse, struggle with addiction or have physical and mental handicaps.
My mother is my best friend and we speak every day. Rare, if ever, is the day she has been shopping and lunching with friends. Usually, it’s her account of taking a homeless friend to help file social security, going with a woman who needs teeth to the dentist or meeting with a young woman who needs marital advice. She is intimately involved with the details of the people’s lives she helps.
Fortunate to have an example like this, I am reminded to slow down and consider ways that I can extend kindness and care to others.