|Just a portion of the food we bought... bread, turkey, cheese, condiments, PB, jelly, chips, fruit, candy, and cookies.|
|Liza and Tish on PB &J duty... these two MUST have made 80 of those bad boys.|
|Danielle, Casey, and Amanda bagging up the cookies!|
|Beautiful, Teresa. Heart as big as her smile.|
|Casey, me, and Heather before loading up the cars.|
|Carol and Tracey, auditing all the bags to make sure we didn't forget anything.|
|Danielle and Court making turkey and cheese sandwiches. Court (the only guy allowed in the kitchen until my Manfriend came home) came over on his day off to help out.|
|Carol and me. Love YOU so much.|
|The sandwich assembly line.|
|Heather, Tish, me, and Liza.|
|Teresa... counting... and recounting everything!|
|Home just in time to lend some muscle!|
|The whole crew after serving 165 meals and drinks. Heather, Amanda, Liza, Tish, Tracey, Danielle, Carol, Casey, Teresa, and me.|
Last month I wrote a blog post and asked (more like pleaded) for help with purchasing and preparing a meal for 150 people at Charlotte's Homeless Resource Center. It went a little like this...
"I have been really struggling lately with the feeling that I am not doing enough to help people who need it. Like, I am turning a blind eye to what is uncomfortable and I am living in my own little bubble. I hate to admit that, but it is true. I read all of these books about greatness, watch TV programs and documentaries that inspire me, collect quotes about living boldly... and yet... most of my days are filled with going to work, taking/editing photographs, going to the gym, blogging, and hanging out with my loved ones. Not that there is anything wrong with any of those things, but sometimes it doesn't feel like enough. There is a HUGE world out there and there are so many things in it that bring me to tears, but yet... don't necessarily spring me into action. Know what I am sayin'?
So... I started brainstorming things that I could do in my community (with a group of like minded women, maybe??? hint... hint... ) to help out somewhere. I decided to purchase, make, and serve dinner to the working poor/homeless in Charlotte at a local Homeless Resource Center uptown. This is not an Sunday family dinner size crew we are talking about here... it's 150 people. That being said... I hope that I don't have to do this alone. Is anyone interested in getting involved? I need some help, Mamacitas!!!!"
Luckily, there were other women who felt the same, and when I asked... they answered. The women that you see pictured above all reached out to me and offered up their time, energy, and hard-earned money to help. There are single-moms, wives, girlfriends, women living check-to-check, women who live almost an hour away, women who took the day off of work, women who sacrificed other things they wanted to donate $50 of their own money, and almost an entire day to help out. (There were also a lot of women who reached out to volunteer who I have "on deck" for the next time.)
We prepared 165 meals in total (while listening to and singing along with Beyonce in my kitchen), and then served them. We met people who were really happy to see us... people who were too ashamed to look us in the eyes... children... mothers, fathers, grandfathers and grandmothers... addicts, recovering addicts... every ethnicity, race, and religion. People who had fallen on hard times, and people who, if you would have seen walking down the street, you would never in a million years known that they were struggling. When the security guard at the Resource Center welcomed everyone he asked how everyone was doing, and you know the overwhelming response? "Blessed". Yes... blessed, and "happy to be here". When the blessing was made over the food there were loud prayers and sounds of thanksgiving. I have never felt closer to God than in that moment. It was raw emotion. Strangers breaking bread with strangers and it hit me really hard... we are here to help one another. Really help one another. Most of us are a bad break away from being in a similar situation. You can't judge anyone else's journey, path, struggle, or life if you have not walked in their shoes. No assumptions. I'll get off of my soapbox now... but I wanted to share snapshots from our day together. I can't overemphasis how powerful today was, and I feel "blessed" to have shared it with the people I did. Thank YOU... thank you, Heather, Casey, Carol, Tracey, Amanda, Tish, Liza, Danielle, and Teresa (and Jessica and Melissa L.). Thank you SO much. To feed, and have your soul fed in return... what could be better?