September’s first feed (the homeless) was disappointing at Mingus Park due to too few homeless showed, even less volunteering, consequently beenie weenies and salad and no lunches. My jaded eye tells me there are issues that require organization and more autonomy at the top. Then we went to Devereux Center and lots of people there and new volunteers. These volunteers need special mention, and in fact we are going to dwell on them because once again the least teaches the most. The homeless were not in happy mode, so there were some chafing occurring between the homeless. That’s normal, really, because we already have been put down for the count, and lifting that shoulder is part of american dna (wrestling metaphore) but also in that same dna is where volunteers come from. Picture this, because i want you to feel this vision of America: mom, dad and five children between 4 and (?) 12. Yes, a family of 7. The parents want their kids to be aware of the plight less fortunate folks can find themselves in. David Letterman picks up cans on the roadway with his son, for the same reason. So as the family introduced themselves to us they asked for assignments. Before we let them start, they produced the lunches the kids assembled the night before. Here is where your vision starts. No brown sacks, gallon size clear plastic bags, where the banana stands out from the bag of cheetos, peanut butter crackers, fruit filled bars, mints, applesauce, twix bars and peanut butter and jelly, or perhaps nutella and fruit spread, in its own zip lock bag. These were the best lunches I have seen in quite a while. Now remember, I said five kids, and I would bet each kid put one object into the lunch bag, mom and dad the banana and sandwich, and I am just guessing here, but I envision them creating a family assemby line around a dining room table. Perhaps this was discussed and specifically shopped for, or maybe they hit their pantry up for the items. Regardless, the kids took the lunches, and bottled water around, making sure everybody received a lunch (for later) and water. Then the kids served the beenie weenies and salad, cups of water and you know what, these were the most polite homeless I have seen in quite a spell. A real polite, beyond please and thank you, there were smiles galore from the kids and from those eating. We spoke with the parents as they met many of the homeless, and the kids enthusiasm spread like wildfire, and a once a surly crowd became family, even if for a scant half hour. Deb has said that often she thinks the folks gather less for the food and more over the connecting. I’d call it family. So here these kids were, enjoying helping, but really enjoying sharing bread with new friends, and vice versa. When they were passing out bread loaves, jams and peanut butter the youngest decided she wanted some to take home too. The dad was explaining why she couldn’t, and Mary settled it by giving her peanut butter, jelly and a loaf of bread. The mom was explaining to dad little steps for the youngest to understand, and she was given everything, so that was settled. Sometimes it takes the littlest push for we older to understand the simplistic pleasures of the young. Dad was concerned about taking food out of the poor’s mouth, but we homeless would have given our last food to make her happy. The dad was shown not to worry, there were abundant jars of peanut butter, jelly and loaves of bread. When I left, it was as a happy guy, full and with a lunch to munch on latter. I am sure I was not the only one to savor the lunch that evening. For the Volunteers, thank you for bringing the family to the table, its been a while.