Jesus taught that a poor widow who gave a small copper coin was more worthy of praise than a rich man who put gold into the Temple treasury (the Gospel according to Mark 12:41-44 & the Gospel according to Luke 21:1-4), because he gave only "out of his abidance" but she "gave all she had." The poor often give more. 

We saw this few Octobers ago at  “Share the Harvest,” the Long Island Council of Churches’ annual fundraising event at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. Auctioneer Rudy Saviano urged attendees to “adopt a family,” donating money to feed a family of four. One of our waiters--who was perhaps not poor but certainly not the wealthiest person in the room, either--approached Grace Simonette, the event co-chair.  A young Muslim from India, he was so touched by our request for support for hungry families that he made a $40 donation, much of the money he earned that evening serving us.

Grace thanked him and asked where, in India, he was from. He replied, “I come from a village so small that no one over here would ever have heard of it.” Grace persisted, saying she has traveled extensively in India. He answered,”Dehra Dun. It’s in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountain Range.”

Grace replied that she knows the village well. “It’s the last stop on the train from Dehli on the way to a school called Woodstock in Missoorie, quite near Dehra Dun."

Internationally it’s a well-known school, kindergarten through 12th grade, attended by children from foreign countries, children of diplomats, children of foreign workers, and of local families. The village is surrounded by unimaginable beauty.” The man was astonished, and asked Grace to tell him more.

“My maternal grandmother was a missionary in India. My mother was born in India, grew up there, and attended and later taught at the Woodstock School in Missoorie, very near Dehra Dun,” Grace explained. “My daughter lived in the village and attended the school there by herself – no relatives, she didn’t know anyone, and she loved it.”

And so two caring people of different faiths, born and raised half-way across the world from each other, came together at Share the Harvest: Helping Neighbors in Need.” Their unexpected meeting helped to feed the hungry and heal our broken world.

By Grace Simonette