I thought back to my friend who wanted me to do Free Food so I could see what I was made of. Now, I get to see how my love can change people, and they bring me into the light.
As I rested and found my way back to being the woman who emanates instead of does to the point of exhaustion, I remembered this time on the bridge in Nepal.
I felt a simple easeful connection with this stranger who also spends his time feeding people. I also admired his simple confidence that he could rely on others to randomly help him.
Sometimes my life feels like a feral cat. I feel beat up, my feet and body feel sore, and yet there’s still more to do. And sometimes if I have enough loving and patient attention, life can curl up beside me and things can change beyond my expectations.
“We rescued all this food from Baldor, one of the major food distributors in New York City. They give us about two metric tons worth of produce for free. It fills our Free Food van front to back, floor to ceiling…”
Our weekly Free Food Ukiah meal in Northern California, transforming the outdoor area of the Building Bridges homeless shelter into a sit-down restaurant for residents and local community.
During this past year-and-a-half of volunteering with Free Food Harlem, I had the opportunity to focus the impetus of my addictive and rebellious nature into cooking community meals, teaching kitchen skills training, facilitating AOS classes, and writing. Instead of seeking immediate relief through self-soothing addictive behaviors and destructive pursuits, I got more of me.
When I was younger, I didn’t realize what I was asking for was to be meeked, to find a place for the wildness I felt and not be broken of it. The Exodus and Housing Works Transition program participants are also looking for a place to put their wildness that doesn’t cause harm.
As the chef for a nonprofit that relies entirely on volunteers, I’ve had to learn how to motivate and inspire others instead of resorting to the harsh and intimidating treatment I received as a young and eager cook.
We’ve shifted from a group of people making food for the local underserved community, to a group that is the community.