Standing along side my 9-year-old niece and her friends at Williams Park tonight, we spread on pb&j, slapped bread together and wrapped the sandwiches into napkins. After going through the ‘hot food’ line set up by the Food Not Bombs group, many houseless folks drifted over to our little stand to pick up a sandwich to go.
“Can I have two please? It’ll be my breakfast before going to work tomorrow morning,” one man explained as he stood at our folding table.
“Of course!” I put two wrapped sandwiches into his weathered hands and smiled though I felt like crying.
My heart always aches when I serve food here on Mondays.
It is still heavy in my chest as I write this hours after helping.
I hurt for these folks who are doing what they can to survive. The disparity between people is so vast it’s unfathomable. I hurt because so many among us are so close to this edge of poverty. One illness or accident could prevent us from working or something could happen to the support system of our family and friends.
Typically, I want to focus on the positive aspects in life. But right now, my eyes are red with tears and I don’t know how I can help on a significant scale. I can only make so many f*ing pb&js to save the world, you know?
Since I can’t NOT focus on some bright points of the night. let me share this: Someone brought the music.
And we danced.
The Cha-Cha Slide belted out and I boogied down next to two houseless men, the local organizer for the FNB group, my niece and friends, and a toddler.
We circled around the two-year-old who crawled and then clapped and laughed with us.
The human spirit is resilient, especially when food and music and friends are involved. We can all relate to breaking bread and reveling in the simple things like quality time together, right?
After all, our longevity is connected to our connections with others. It’s times like these that buoy us up, no matter how dire the situation is. It’s the people. It’s always about the people and our connections.
So, I’ll continue to show up with pb&j or hummus and chips. And I’ll show up with extra toiletries. And I’ll show up with a blanket because one man asked me for one tonight since someone stole his. And I’ll show up with my dance moves. And I’ll show up with my willingness to connect.
If you want to show up, then please do. It’s vegan only food. So bring a dish or a donation if you can.
They are in need of men’s clothes. There are opportunities for day laborers if these guys show up. They need clothes and boots though.
By the way, I learned that using the term “houseless” is preferred over saying “homeless” because technically these folks have a home, it’s with each other on the streets or in shelters. Technically they don’t have a house.
Check out the Food Not Bombs page to see if this is a group you want to support.