Chen Guangbiao, a very rich Chinese philanthropist, who some call eccentric, treated 200 homeless people to a fancy lunch today in a Central Park restaurant in New York City. A man of humble beginnings Chen amassed his wealth through hard work and perseverance (and a recycling business) and he's trying to give back.
Whatever his motives are, I think he's doing a good thing. Apparently there will be more luncheons in the future.
Craig Mayes, the executive director of the shelter where the participants live (the NYC Rescue Mission), said, "Our thought was if someone wants to treat them to an amazing event-something they would never experience on their own, maybe even a kernel of hope that life could be different again, we're in for that reason."
I think Chen has brought attention to the homeless people, who desperately need hope and change. I applaud his action and I think it will get people thinking and acting. There are certainly a lot of very rich people in NYC (in the entire tri-state area) and they can do more (though most are very charitable, they could do more).
Yesterday I participated in a reading program for young, disadvantaged children and I saw firsthand how important a hands-on approach to helping others is. It's easy to write a check to a charity, but not as easy to put the effort into actually doing something and putting in the time, that makes a difference in someones life.
It's Christ's mandate to help the least of our brothers and sisters and the more we do that, the more we act like Christ and we help to bring forth the Reign of God.
"Whatever you do for one of the least of my brothers, you did it for me" spoken by Jesus (Mt. 25:40)