“My daughter is hungry, and it’s her birthday today. Maybe you have some food left over that I can bring her to make her happy?”
This was said to me by an older gentleman who appeared to be in his early sixties as we were taking food out to the neighborhood in order to serve it to the needy. In Tel Aviv there are streets where there are many drug addicts who are so sick and weak that they’re unable to walk a few hundred meters to the soup kitchen where hot meals are served. Because of that, we send out groups of volunteers to take food to those areas where there are lots of drug addicts because they can’t come to us.
On the evening that elderly gentleman spoke to me, it was particularly busy. Many people were asking for food. However, that father’s request for his daughter went straight to my heart. I stopped what I was doing and went with him. We walked a few meters down the street to where a woman, this man’s daughter, sat on the ground, clearly addicted to hard-core drugs. We wished her a happy birthday, and she answered, “Today I’m twenty-nine years old.” After bringing her a plate of food and something to drink, the father and daughter shared their story. Both of them have been taking drugs for years and their addiction ultimately landed them on the streets. It is a vicious cycle we’ve unfortunately seen many times. After they had something to eat, we asked if we could pray for them, and they agreed. We told them about the drug treatment facilities we work with, and we shared testimonies of people we personally know who were able to escape the deadly cycle of drugs and crime through faith in God. We embraced them and brought them another “birthday” helping of food and drink.
Our outreach center provides the opportunity to meet many people, almost all of whom have a story that will break your heart. But something about meeting this father and daughter who are on the street together touched me deeply. I can’t stop thinking about them. Now that they know we’re in their area every week, I pray that they will return with open hearts. We will be there to pray for them, support them and hopefully help them on their way to a drug rehabilitation center we have connection with.