We meet so many interesting people on Wednesday. No matter what, familiarity can also breed compassion, affection and understanding.
Last week, we came face to face with, “Shoelaces and Shepherd’s Pie. The Dilemma and the Doctrine of Survival.”
The word was out. A great menu was at Many Meals on Wednesday, so some of the river people came up. I asked Carlos what happened to his shoes. He said someone stole his shoelaces. I assured him I had shoelaces at the office and he could have them the next day. A few minutes later, I noticed his was lacing up his shoes with white laces. I asked where he got them. He hesitated and admitted that he had taken them from a pair of white tennis shoes on the Treasure Table that someone donated.
So, I asked him, “Now what do you think someone who wants those shoes is going to do for laces?” Without a thought, he said, “The same thing I did.” So goes street logic. However, deep down, I believe he knows.
I have learned everything we do and say to them (as with everyone) has an impact—for good and for bad on any future relationship. Without relationship, they may never come “home”. If I am harsh because they make a mess, they stay away (until they are hungry.) If they borrow money and don’t want to pay it back, they stay away (until they are hungry.) If I ask them to help with various tasks while they are around anyway, they grumble about me to others – and they stay away (until they are hungry).
Food is the key to building relationships with those struggling to get through life. We are so blessed having Food Share as our partner, so blessed to have so many volunteers throughout the week, so blessed to have such great cooks who have made Wednesdays from noon to 3:30 a commitment to excellence in the preparation of a meal they know nothing about until noon. It is then they are presented a recipe and some ingredients. They have become the handiest “machine” in the kitchen.
What happens on Wednesdays at dinner time is a miracle. It’s about relationship building where many encouraging words are passed along, and needy folks are connected with resources. They find some hope simply by feeling better after a delicious and generous meal and take home a generous amount of fresh fruit and pantry items.
Today at Food Share, we found twelve, 10-lb cooked hams, sweet potatoes, mandarin oranges, fresh grapes, romaine lettuce and perfectly ripened bananas.
From our USDA food Distribution on Saturday, we kept out about 25 lbs of really hearty chicken legs. I cooked up about 40 pieces at home tonight with barbecue sauce and spices to serve at the drop-in center tomorrow. We also found six giant cheese pizzas that will make like a banquet. Good fellowship is taking place there as well. We will be glad when Pastor Jim can come back to Bible Study on Fridays to meet the new folks and take them to their next step towards sobriety.
There is something about getting around the table and enjoying good food—no matter how big the family may be.
Not sure about the menu tomorrow except for ham somehow, sweet potatoes of some kind, mandarin oranges somewhere, rice from El Pescador, cooked carrot from El Pescador, rolls with butter and romaine salad. Sounds balanced to me.
Thanks for taking a minute to read along with me each week.