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I spent the Sunday after Christmas at Isaiah House, the base for the Orange County Catholic Worker, one of the biggest batch of mensches in Orange County. The chica and I arrived shortly after they had just prepared a free meal for anyone who needed it, and given the state of this economy, the eaters numbered in the hundreds. I eventually caught up with Dwight Smith, who with his wife Leia run the place--two secular saints if ever there were two. Dwight eventually told me a story that epitomizes how amazing the Catholic Worker is--and how addicted to consumerism the rest of us are.
Seems that on Thanksgiving night, a Catholic Worker volunteer was driving through Seal Beach and saw a family inside a tent. The kind soul thought they were a homeless family, was aghast they'd spend Thanksgiving not in the warmth of a home but in the bitter cold, alone, and immediately drove home to prep a full Thanksgiving dinner: rice, turkey, ham, pie, all the fixings.
The volunteer rushed back to the family, only to discover that the family was in fact camping out to be the first in line for a Black Friday sale. They ate the meal.
Dwight laughed while telling the tale, and the volunteer wasn't peeved in the least--charity, after all, is charity. I just hope that family who have enough money to spend a night camping outside a store to purchase gifts will remember such giving and help out the Catholic Worker--and so should ustedes, for that matter.