When A Little is Everything

It was, in a sense, an ordinary Sunday in New York: Church, bagels, cream cheese and coffee. I didn’t expect many attendees at the early service and that didn’t matter to me. I learned a long time ago that spreading the word about ending human trafficking isn’t always about impacting the masses. It’s about connecting with one person who cares enough to see their life, their actions, their commitment changed forever. That’s how the ripple effect happens and that’s why the Nomi story is so powerful.

What I didn’t imagine on that Sunday morning, was that I was the one to be changed.

After the service, a woman came up to me and fumbled through her pockets for a few dollar bills and coins. I knew she was living on the streets because I had seen her park her grocery cart at the entrance to the church. I knew that woman with her smile and sparkling eyes was giving me more than she could reasonably afford to give to fight trafficking and provide an empowering future to women like her, who needed a chance. For a split second everything in my heart wanted to yell out, “No.” You can’t. You shouldn’t. And yet, I knew in that moment it would not be accepting the generous gift she was making, nor her dignity and the dignity of her contribution — nor the lesson she was teaching me.
She told me she looked forward to coming every Sunday and to sipping on a cup of coffee and eating a couple of tasty NYC bagels. She smiled. And without further ado, I grabbed a piece of paper and made a donation slip.

“I want to help,” she said. “This is the only way I know how. It’s not much...” I answered, “It’s everything.”

We smiled and hugged and talked about what we could do, together, to fight and overcome inequality in the world. I’ll never forget her. On that Sunday, she taught me the difference between giving a lot and yet giving little, and giving what might seem to some a small monetary amount that is worth all our weight in gold.

By Sarah-Jane Murray
Nomi Network Board Member

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