There is a philosophy behind 365: “When the world’s problems seem insurmountable, we do the doable.”
The problems that lead to displaced peoples — the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border included — are deep-rooted and complicated. And I realize that they’re problems that can’t be solved in a day. There are large scale, deep rooted causes that need to be addressed – but we also need to do what we can now.
Rayo de Luz in McAllen, Texas, is a good example of an organization that responds to the “now” by doing the doable. A significant homeless population exists in this community, and while the root causes are complex, addressing the immediate needs of that community was something we could do.
Rayo de Luz is a non-profit led by Sister Shirley of Little Falls, Minnesota. Every Tuesday morning, Shirley and her small army of women volunteers provide breakfast outside the Sacred Heart Catholic Church to struggling individuals in the community.
The breakfast is hearty, but basic. It includes tacos, rice, beans, and coffee, all of which are prepared in the volunteers’ home kitchens.
Our goal was to give this week’s breakfast an element of “special.” After a brainstorming session with Shirley and her volunteers, we landed on three items that Alight could provide that would make this breakfast different form many others: tamales purchased from a local business, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (which have been hugely popular in the past), and personal care packages which include items such as toothbrushes, soap, and deodorant.
For one morning, these breakfasts make a big difference in the lives of people who are struggling. It brought a little joy, something a little extra special, just for them. It’s been a long time since that’s been the case, and you could see the surprise and delight in people’s faces.
Rayo de Luz has larger ambitions that include finding larger solutions, and as the organization continues to grow, these solutions may come in time. But for now, doing the doable is how Sister Shirley and her allies address the needs of people who need help – today.
Bill is a social studies teacher at Forest Lake Area High School, living in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. A native Minnesotan, Bill spent a year in Mexico, teaching English and becoming fluent in Spanish. The opportunity to make an impact on the issues happening on the southern border has been a time he’ll always cherish. When not in the classroom, petting his cats, or writing for his blog, you can find him in the wrestling ring as the Revolutionary Bill Williams.