Feb 19, 2018

Kindness To Strangers

2/19/2018 — cori
Since moving to Colorado we found a small little church that we tried a few times. I love how they don't just believe in ideals and concepts - they do them. They live out the social gospel by literally feeding the poor, clothing the naked, finding homes for the homeless, sponsoring DACA kids, and standing up for social justice issues alongside other organizations. 

One of the ladies invited me to join her at the local Catholic Charities Homeless Shelter to cook dinner one night. Someone who committed had backed out and she thought she'd ask me last minute even though we had just recently met. Turns out, I was free and I was excited to help. I get tired of only giving money to problems. I like to get in there and 'get dirty', meet the people, and do the work. 

Turns out that at this shelter different organizations from all around the city sign up to cook meals one night a month. We found out that our church does the 3rd Thursday of every month. It takes 4-5 people to cook a meal. The shelter provides all the food through donations. They also give us the meal plan. It's just up to us to cook it and serve it. Talk about putting a face to the homeless. Chloe and I went that first month and we loved every minute of it. I love places that allow youth to actually do the work and help. Chloe felt that her time and energies really mattered and realized that she had something to give.

My friend called again and said that more people backed out this month and did I know of anyone else who could help. It just so happened that Chuck and Bennett were free that night. I said we'd make it a family affair. Chuck nor Bennett have ever helped at a homeless shelter before. I think it really impacted them. Bennett showed his usual colors by picking the one apron with Wendy on it.

I was a little nervous about what job Susan would give him to do. But she could read Bennett like a book and knew exactly the tasks for him. He was to butter all the bread. Now there's a job Bennett can handle. Here is a small moment of brother and sister working together and not tickling one another, making weird faces at each other or saying smart-alecky things to each other. They're just concentrating on one task - helping us all pull off a meal for people who need it.

Chuck is very good in the kitchen. He was in charge of the green beans, rice, and making gravy. I made the main dish (sautéed onions and mushrooms with ground beef topped with Chuck's gravy). Chloe made the fruit salad. Bennett worked hard on his bread and butter. And Susan oversaw this motley crew.

It was such a joy to serve these people dinner. They were all so kind and thankful. They wanted us to look them in the eye, ask how their day was, make small talk with them - just treat them human and with respect despite their current circumstances in life. When we did, people opened up. There were lots of smiles, lots of reciprocation asking how we were, and plenty of banter. The people were truly grateful, gracious and complimentary. They didn't have to be. But it sure made all the work and time that much more enjoyable.

On the way home all we could talk about were the kids we saw at the shelter and how it broke our hearts. Chloe and I also recalled seeing some of the same people we saw last time. Now we can't wait to make this a regular part of our month. We're only afraid of "the other" when we don't know them; when we can't put a face or a story to them. I'm so thankful to be a part of something that helps "the other" and not just ourselves. Isn't that what life is really about?

I recently saw a sticker that said: Human kind....be both. I like that.

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