The compassion of a city
After an incredibly difficult year for me personally, I was uncertain the fate of the group I loved so dearly. I took nearly a year to heal and recover from a truly life changing injury, & I had doubts about the future. I finally found a job within a small company, with people who really saw one another as people, not just cogs in the machine.
Call it praying, asking, wishing, or whatever you fancy; but I was doing that, asking the universe to lead me to the right decision. Until the answer came I was happy to wait. For the first time I was still. Allowing the universe to ebb and flow like a body of water around me. I knew something was coming, I just had to be patient.
It came in a form which truly surprised me; my new employer. He wanted to know more about this group I was part of. After all that the year had brought to me and subsequently brought me through, my heart was guarded in that conversation. Until suddenly it wasn’t and the mission I believe in so strongly flowed from me, just as smooth and straightforward as it should be. The simple but heavy message that everyone deserves to eat.
I sat with his proposal to consider what help he could offer. I sat with my worries and doubts. I had, quite literally, fallen off the horse and I was afraid to get back on. I was afraid I would fail, and my failure would affect those around me.
Then I saw it. The sign. Etched in thick black sharpie, on an unseasonably frigid November morning. The owner of the sign squatted down in an effort to protect himself from the bitter winds that morning.
My life is filled with blessings, which allow me the luxury of the emotional inflections I had been having. There were a lot of tears as I made my way to work through the morning traffic. I cried because I felt so helpless at that moment.
By the time I arrived at work, I had a somewhat undeveloped idea which I threw out to my employer asking for his help. With no hesitation, and seemingly without any of the doubts I had of myself or my abilities; he agreed to help create a community outreach with me!
I knew I wanted to provide warmth to bodies and bellies. I reached out to my group and asked if they were in, the resounding yes warmed my own heart. We set to planning.
The morning came after a month of coordination, it was a brisk December morning. I arrived early, and instead of people that early in the morning I was greeted by rocks and boxes; place markers brought earlier so the owners wouldn’t have to stand for hours holding their space.
Many times I’ve been to the Peace and Justice Center for their grocery giveaway, and to be in a familiar energetic space was comforting. As the humans began arriving, a quiet morning quickly became an active bustle. The tables were being piled with coats, hats, gloves, and a variety of other warm donations.
The distinct rumble of the food truck coming down the street, added excitement to an already bustling morning. Street Food Institute had prepared a New Mexico favorite, pasolé! They also came stocked with oatmeal, fresh fruit and delicious hot chocolate. There were gallons of freshly brewed coffee from Satellite Coffee. The most exciting part? This amazing spread of food and drink was free to all.
Food brings us together, it is an equalizer. Everyone has to eat, it’s a human need which is inescapable. It may sound silly but sharing a meal that morning really was magic. During planning, I knew what type of dynamic I wanted to see created. I wanted to create a connection between people. That amazingly delicious spread did exactly what food does. It created conversations and encouraged laughter.
The excitement of the volunteers and the guests that morning; the air was electric. Coats galore were being hung along the fence for easier shopping, boxes of thick socks lined the tables, and a wide variety of other items members of the community had come together to donate filled every space we had provided. I was blown away at the amount of items that had been brought for the day in the spirit of sharing. I had only brought two tables in preparation for the donations, and we immediately knew we needed more tables. The volunteers with the Peace and Justice Center swooped into swift action to provide us with the necessary table space. We filled those tables too!
We were there for the morning, helping search for the right fitting jackets. So many sounds of people praising the food truck on their food. A bounty for everyone in presence and a bounty for even those with friends who thought to bring them food or clothing.
This is why I love doing this. It is why I'm on this planet. I may not have any superhero powers but I do possess the ability to derive creative solutions on bringing people together. This is only the beginning.
Thank you to each and every person for believing in the mission of Food is Free Albuquerque.