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The Gift of Giving Rewards Us All

July 25, 2002

How coincidental that "Investing in Hope, at $50 a Share" (July 22) appeared the day after our youth group made and distributed 200 lunches on 4th and 5th streets in downtown Los Angeles immediately following our morning worship services. It has been doing this every month for the past five years and is a living testament to the benefits one receives from giving, which your article highlighted.

Whether it's the making and distribution of lunches or handing out envelopes filled with cash, church congregations in Los Angeles, Indianapolis and countless other communities commit random acts of kindness and hospitality much more than they are given credit for. Your article is a breath of fresh air in the wake of other less important news about churches that often makes the front pages of your newspaper.

The Rev. Mark M. Nakagawa

Centenary United Methodist Church, Los Angeles

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I recently had an experience that confirmed for me everything I read in your article. I was unemployed, depressed and on my way to a job interview when I exited the San Diego Freeway at La Tijera last week. I missed the green light, so I had to sit out the red light. I looked to the left of me, and there was a homeless man reading a paperback book, "The Bourne Identity," and petting his huge German shepherd dog.

I rolled my window down and asked him if he liked the book, and he said he thought it was great. I took the saddest $5 bill you have ever seen and gave it to him and wished him good health. Right before the light changed he asked me if I would like a kiss from his dog, and I said, "Yes." The dog came over to my car, jumped up and gave me one good lick that completely covered my face from ear to ear! I don't think he missed a spot of skin on my face.

I went to my interview and smiled the entire time. The attorney told me he thought I had a great attitude because I kept smiling during the entire interview, and when I got home there was a message from him offering me the job. I no longer question what people are going to do with the five bucks. I give it with sincerity and hope that they will use it for themselves or their pets.

Lolly Hellman

West Los Angeles

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