One of our Many Meals student helpers was evicted from a garage with her mother and little sister. They were in a motel til the money ran out. They are at the Lighthouse in Oxnard and traffic is particularly bad that time of day. The School District is trying to work out transportation for this 11th grader who is Harvard material. I tell her every day what my mom said, “Nothing lasts forever and you will get through this.” She was right.
There are so many stories at Many Meals. The farmworkers are working later now that days are longer and they can’t get to us before the gates close at 6 pm. Many of them come to the back door while we are still in the kitchen. Last week several arrived late and I’m not sure they had eaten all day. We would not turn them away. Each received two generous dinners and desserts.
When I got back to the office around 8 pm, I noticed that several of them had followed the Many Meals truck and three more were at the back door. I had this overwhelming sense of gratitude for being able to serve them. I know mashed potatoes may not be their favorite food, but we had plenty of bollos and awesome chicken gumbo with salsa to serve with it.
I felt sorrow and gratitude for them. Sorrow for the hard work they do and that few will do. Sorrow that things are better here, it seems, than they are in their home land. Sorrow they are enticed to come here and left to the elements and luck. My gratitude is that they found a welcoming place with lots of food at the end of a really hard work day that few of us understand. I am grateful they do the work that provide so much for all us. I never want to stand before God and be admonished for not honoring people who picked the food I ate.
We meet so many people with problems during the day. The Fire Department called over the weekend to see if I could help a family of three with shelter. They had a car at least and so I suggested they stay safe for the night and see me in the morning. She is here with proper documentation, but her husband is not. He is working during the day but they are having a hard time finding a place to rent without a deposit and the ability to run
Tomorrow’s menu with be cheese and chicken burritos, fresh strawberries, rice from El Pescador and beans from the Presby kitchen, freshly cooked buttered carrots, green 3-way salad, rolls and butter.
Thank you all for listening. I know you are grateful too.
SPIRIT of Santa Paula
Kay Wilson-Bolton, Director
Serving the Least Powerful and Most Vulnerable People in Santa Paula CA