Stranger Pays For Struggling Mom Who Can’t Afford Back To School Supplies

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“$1.65 is what I have left. 

And this month that is enough. 

Yet, privileged is how I feel. 

Because $1.65 is more than some people have.

Sometimes it is important to recognize another’s needs as they are greater than yours. 

Being human is to care about and for another individual when you can. 

Let me tell you what happened at the start of this month. 

I was wrapping up back to school shopping and getting odds and ends while in the city. 

I was baffled by the cost of everything my kids needed to head back into public school this year. 

For some reason in my head I thought I would not be dishing out large amounts of money to cover everything. 

Between shoes, supplies, backpacks, lunch kits, and fall clothes, I just about passed out after everything was bought. 

It is a privilege to be able to afford school supplies for my children to attend public school. 

Many people can’t afford groceries right now in today’s economy. 

Most people can’t afford their bills every month. 

Most people are struggling to stay afloat. 

Many people can’t afford gas in their vehicles. 

$1.65 is what I have left. 

I would have more left but our family’s needs are not as high as the mom that crossed my path. 

As I was finishing that never ending list of school supply purchases for back to school, I found myself constantly in the same aisle as this mom who clearly looked in distress and overwhelmed. 

I swear I was trying not to eavesdrop on anyone’s personal conversations while shopping but it was hard not to. 

I heard the mom explain to her daughter, ‘We don’t have enough money for gym runners, underwear, and lunch items this month so we are going to have to wait till next month.’

Sometimes you need to help another not because you can but because one day you might need help too. 

For a minute I froze in the aisle thinking if it was wrong of me to say anything to the mom. 

I didn’t want her to be embarrassed or angry that I am getting involved in something that clearly has nothing to do with me. 

Enter little voice. 

That little voice inside my head was screaming, ‘Help them.’

I slowly walked over closer to the mom and daughter. I explained that it was my treat and I would love to buy whatever it is they need because there was a time when someone helped me and I would like to return the favor. 

Over an hour later, a shopping cart was filled. 

A week’s worth of groceries, the fanciest gym runners, and an assortment of underwear with all the lunch items you can imagine. It was the best $281.50 I ever spent in my entire life. 

And it doesn’t matter that I have $1.65 left. 

What matters is that more people need to recognize that love and kindness is what will get us all through the hard times together. 

As we all walked out of the store with our shopping carts heading towards the parking lot, tears started to stream down the mom’s face. She blurted out, ‘Thank you so much. I have some loose change in my car that I can give you till I can pay you back in full.’

‘No, it was my treat and that is what I meant. So no need to pay me back and no need to give me loose change from your car.’

As we parted ways and I started to drive home, my heart filled from making another person’s life a little brighter in a world that is fairly dark and gray. 

It doesn’t get any better than this.”

grocery cart being pushed down store aisle
Courtesy of Katie Emde

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Katie Emde of Journey for Avery. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.

Read more from Katie here:

Mom Shares Reminder To Teach Body Positivity During Back-To-School Shopping After 8-Year-Old Breaks Down For Being ‘Fat’

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