Buy That Guy A Sammy: Week 4 of Feeding NYC’s Homeless

100415 - Kevin - buythatguyasammyberkeley

Hey Zenful Dancers!  As I wrap up my much-needed trip home to see family, I am thrilled to announce that this week’s sammy goes to Kevin.  He is a homeless newspaper vendor for Street Spirit, the homeless newspaper that the City of Berkeley supplies for free to homeless vendors looking to become more self sufficient and earn 100% of what they make for selling the newspapers (recommended donation is $1/newspaper) as an alternative to panhandling.  He still had a pretty good stack left to sell and he was super hungry so all I saw was an opportunity to BTGAS!  Kevin’s missing all of his front teeth, so he opted in for a (soft) chicken burrito and bottle of water totaling just under my weekly $10 sammy budget.  Huzzah!

Pay it forward Zenful Dancers and spread the word!

-Leah Joy, The Zenful Blogger

BUY THAT GUY A SAMMY: Feeding NYC’s Homeless, One Person At A Time

Hey Zenful Dancers!

I haven’t been doing too well lately.  Lots going on with my health and my home life.  It’s been overwhelming on most days and my meditation practice has been damn near sanity-saving- and at the risk of sounding too dramatic maybe even life-saving.  But nothing snaps me out of a funk more quickly than figuring out how I can be helpful to others who are in a much worse way than I am.

Today I bought Reggie a sandwich.  Reggie was in the Flatiron today and I could tell he wasn’t doing so well.  He was hunched over his walking cane from what he explained was a “bad case of Scoliosis” and he looked pretty parched up.  As most homeless folks (and many con-artists posed as homeless folks do) he asked if I could give him any money.  I explained I don’t give out money but I do give food when I can and that gesture usually weeds out the cons from the people in need. We got to talking.  He’d been homeless for two years and is usually pretty lucky to get into a shelter, but not always.  His back always hurts and he’s always hungry and he can’t believe he is in the situation he’s in at his age (I would guess Reggie is in his early 60’s).  I wanted to help.

I went into the deli shop on the next corner and explained my story.  I told them I wanted to get the best sandwich I could buy and a bottle of water but my budget was $10.  When the lady at the counter rang me up, the total was over budget so she promptly offered me her employee discount and said with a lovely smile, “Hey, pay it forward, right?”  $9.84.

$9.84 made not just 1 but 3 people feel great today!  It was a small gesture but had a positive impact on my, Reggie’s and the lovely shop girl’s day.  Think about that the next time you walk by someone in need on the street and you have 5 minutes and $10 bucks to spare.

Let’s start a movement.  Out of my own pocket I am going to buy one person a meal, once a week for the next year on a $10 budget.  I am going to take the time to at least learn their name and even take a selfie (an “Ussie”?) with them if that’s comfortable for them.  AND I will Tweet/Blog updates. I plan to do this once a week for a year and instead of buying myself a coffee every morning, I’ll pare down to just once a week and make my coffee at home.

If you live in a town or city where homeless folks live in your neighborhood, remember, they’re your neighbors too.

Pay it forward.  Who’s in?

-Leah Joy, The Zenful Blogger

#BuyThatGirlASammyNYC #BuyThatGuyASammyNYC #PayItForward #FeedNYCHomeless #compassion

My Morning Mourning

This morning I cried. I cried for the 12 staff members of Charlie Hebdo who lost their lives because they chose to exercise their freedom of press and speech and expression. This morning I cried for the bombing outside the NAACP. I cried for the murdered police officers in Brooklyn who serviced their Country and community. I cried for all the peaceful Muslims, Jews, Christians and Buddhists of the world who are caught in the crossfire of religious extremists who commit selfish acts of hurt in the name of God, power or money.

This morning I sobbed for all the selfish people in the world who truly believe their needs are more important than someone else’s needs. We are all selfish. We all have needs. Let’s not step on the backs of others to get where we need to go! But we do it. We do it again and again and it seems we will never learn.

Today, I choose to be kind. If I’m brave, I’ll choose this again tomorrow, and then the next day. You should choose this too. Don’t allow your weaknesses to get the better of you. Be strong and choose kindness over hate. Compassion over power and manipulation. Love over fear.

But for now, I feel really sad. Sad and alone.

-Leah Joy, The Zenful Blogger

Did You Remember To…

Listen?  Really listen?

Smile from the inside out?

Breathe when things get tough?

Cough twice?  *cough, cough!*

Be kind to all living things (including you)?

Hold the door for the next person?

Tell your (insert person you love here) that you love them?

Live your life instead of waiting for it to happen to you?

Live your life instead of waiting for someone to rescue you?





Keep your heart open?


Let’s make a deal!  Tomorrow, let’s remember to do at least ONE of these things on the list.  Psst… Pass it on!


Keep on keepin’ on,

-Leah Joy, the Zenful Blogger