I had the honor of meeting Pam in the late 2000’s when I was planting a church in Orting, WA. Pam and her husband Greg are some of the most giving people I have ever known. They have opened their home to care for 7 children with various disabilities. They did not rely on a Government program, they did not wait for others to act… Pam and Greg simply live the love of Jesus Christ by giving of their life and money to care for children that others would simply discard.

With that bit of context, I wan to share with you a recent event Pam experienced at Walmart. I pray it is a reminder that regardless of your views about Welfare and Food Stamps, never let prejudice overwhelm compassion.

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Pam_MNEXT TIME you’re in a shopping line and irritated at the person in front of you and their kids…ask yourself, WHO do you want to be….the couple behind or the one who spoke up? I know EXACTLY how this feels….

THIS IS A SHARE...not something that I did, but man oh man, wish I was able to find the words like this at time like that!!! Please read on……

WARNING; Insensitive people at the Walmart- rant ahead.

Last night I found myself sandwiched in line waiting to check out, this is not an odd occurrence. The woman in front of me had 5 children she was wrangling ( which did not seem odd to me) , as well as the fact that the children were a mix of Caucasian and Hispanic.( agian hmph…didn’t notice until it was pointed out to me).

Yes, I said pointed out.

The people behind me as I wrestled my own whiney toddler, began very loudly whispering things like;

“How many baby daddies do you think she has?”
“Can’t even dress those kids for weather.”
“Just wait until she whips out the food stamps. “

I calmed my 3 year old with old Altoids® found at the bottom of my purse and looked incredulously back at the well dressed, normal looking couple spouting such, well, total CRAP.

I looked forward to see a woman fumbling with separating clothes items; coats and shoes socks and underwear from the food items with the black plastic separators.

Her five kids, two that shared her same blonde hair with jackets and warm shoes and three, beautifully dark haired and deep brown eyes, sad, eyes; wearing shorts, and flip flops.
It was true she was struggling with a food stamp card. She didn’t know what buttons to use to complete the transaction.

As the class act behind me deeply sighed; and said

“Theres our tax dollars neatly at work.”

I shot them what I can only imagine was the death glare only a mother of 9 can execute to perfection.

I stepped forward and kindly said,

“Can I help? These things are so confusing.”

She looked at me.

I quietly asked

“Foster or Adopted? I have 9 kiddos…two bio, I get it, please let me help.”

She smiled embarrassed,

“New Foster Mom, this is my first time using one of these, they came 3 days days ago, gonna be with us for a while. They gave us food, but the kids needed clothes , but no stipend has come through yet.”

I looked at the kids and smiled, and turned to her and said,

“Beautiful children. I am glad you all have each other. “

I showed her how to use her card as the jackholes behind us snorted.  I explained to her how she doesn’t have to separate items and that the items get separated by the computer at check out and how she pays the balance after she runs her card.

She handed each child a new coat, loaded up her cart, and as she left I side hugged her and encouraged her,

“You have got this!”

After the woman and her family were out of ear shot…I turned with tears to the smug well-dressed man and woman behind me.

“Those children? They lost the right to live with their parents just days ago.  Those clothes are probably the only clothes they own, or the only ones they could take from their home. THAT woman opened her home to kids; kids that needed a safe place to go, when the one they lived in no longer proved safe enough or secure enough for them. The food stamps helps an already mother to two feed three new mouths. There are not nearly enough women or people like her this world.”

I whipped back around and started slamming my groceries on the belt, and then turned back around… Voice shaking.

“AND even IF those kids were all hers, and she had a dozen “baby daddies” and was on food stamps..no child in this country or any other deserves to be cold or hungry, I am sorry, but your behavior? Poorly done, VERY poorly done.”

My new ‘friends’ left my checkout aisle and silently joined another.

I grabbed a bag of damn Peanut-butter M&Ms…. As I finished checking out the girl checking me out smiled and winked,

“I am a single mother on WIC.  What you said, Rocked!”

I grimaced and said,

“Thanks, I wasn’t sure I should have gone off like that… hug those babies of yours tight tonight.”

She said,

“I will, you have a nice night mam’ and do the same.”

I cried hard as I found my Tahoe, buckled the baby in the car, loaded up…and opened those damn m&m’s.

You foster mama’s out there…hold your heads high, you are the hands and hearts that are the strong and the steady for small ones when they need it most. Hats off and so much love today to you!

Dr. Joe Miller (aka JR) is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. In addition, he is a church planter and coach for emerging leaders. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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