I had an interesting discussion today at church with the man who's organizing our Thanksgiving baskets for the needy. There was a man standing in the lobby when I walked out of the sanctuary and I saw him and asked if I could help him with anything. He told me that he was looking to sign up for the gifts for children (we do an Angel Tree sort of thing for needy kids in the area) so I got him to talk to the man who was doing the baskets. He took the man's name and number and told him that he'd call him if we had space still available in the program. It seems that there of course are less people who are able to help out by buying gifts and many more people coming in to ask for gifts last year and this year so they're having to limit the number of people that they can help. The man from our church said that he's gotten a lot of phone calls from people all over Long Island and he's suggested that they get in touch with their own home church but most of them don't have a home church so they start calling random churches to find help. Of course we'd love to help everyone but with limited resources, we help those from our own congregation who we know need help, those who are part of our crisis pregnancy center and those who are part of a ministry in the next town who we've partnered with a lot. For those who walk in off the street, we've had to turn some of them down. I feel so badly for them but then again, we can't help everyone and we know for sure the life situations of those who are involved in these 3 ministries and are more involved in their lives than just giving them a turkey and stuffing for Thanksgiving. Then we started talking about the "professional charity seekers" - those who we found were visiting multiple churches to get gifts for their kids (we will provide clothing, personal and school supplies and 2 toys for each child so it's not like we buy one gift) and turkey baskets. Honestly, I'd be happy to provide 2 baskets for a family who were really needy because one meal is not enough but to have some get 5 or 6 really gets me kind of sour. So what do you do at your church? How can you help everyone who comes to your door or do you? Do you limit what you can do? Do you find you have any "professional beggars"? Just doing some thinking on this tonight. Oh - and I decided my little ones will be helping to put together a turkey basket for a family. I'll have them do chores over the next week then we'll go to the store and buy the items together. I think it will be really good for them.