H is for Hungry and Homeless
I had a wonderful experience at Christmas that I never got around to blogging about. A friend invited me to join her annual feeding of the homeless in San Francisco. I wasn’t sure what she meant at first. Were we going to dole out soup in one of those homeless shelters? No, apparently her and a friend had started a ‘give back’ tradition over 20 years ago, which entailed the following:
- Spending a fortune buying top quality, fresh, organic ingredients
- Taking an entire day off work to prepare a delicious Martha Stewart recipe chicken salad
- Making up 150 sandwiches with said Martha Stewart chicken salad as filling
- Filling 150 lunch bags with about 10 different items, all top quality and as healthy as possible
- Driving down to San Francisco and handing them out randomly to homeless people.
Some people were fast asleep under newspapers or blankets, some were stoned or drunk or out of their minds on something, but the vast majority were simply hungry. It felt great to be giving them quality food and not just a dry, stale bit of bread with a limp piece of ham. It was so rewarding to see their faces transform into smiles of joy, especially when they realized we were just giving them free food - no sermon or lecture or religious diatribe.
What I noticed, however, was that the vast majority were black. Or is the proper description, African American? I’m never quite sure in this politically correct world we live in now. But really, who cares what the correct term is – surely the point is that these people are hungry and homeless and it seemed that a certain skin colour was more prevalent than others. I am sure there are worse places to be homeless than California, but there were a lot of people of all ages, with no home and no food. Now I know some people make a 'choice' to live like this, but I'm damn sure most of them don't. There was a definite sense of community though, with groups of people looking out for each other, making sure their 'sleeping' friend had a lunch bag for later and so on.
I don't know how much good it really does in the end, but my friend says that she likes doing this because she hopes they will realise that someone cares. That their situation isn't entirely hopeless. That they have been noticed. She is a lovely, caring person and perhaps if there were more people that did something like this it would really make a difference. I am glad she asked me along. I had a great time. It made me feel like I had done something good with my day. I definitely experienced a rosy glow from my good deeds, but I couldn’t help feeling guilty that I was ending the day by stuffing my face in a delicious restaurant, and going back to my loving husband and a comfy bed in a warm house.