Happy Spring, finally!
People ask me every day how the cafe is doing. They wonder how many people are coming in for a meal, how many people are volunteering for their meals, and how we are reaching our target audience. I respond with some statistics about the work we are doing and the many meals we are able to provide for people who are unable to afford them. The story I don't get to tell is one that I want to share with you. My friend sent in a story that changed her perspective on A Place at the Table, poverty, and humanity in general.
"One story in particular, was truly touching. I cannot forget my encounter with a person that was experiencing homelessness. He was so friendly and kind, and although I was busy bussing tables, I took time to chat with him. He sat alone at the community table, which was located next to my station. He introduced himself as “one of the homeless” and I was surprised. I didn’t visibly react to his admittance, but I was immediately aware of the feeling I had inside. He was so open and warm as he shared. I asked him how he felt about being a part of A Place at a Table. He replied, “I love the dignity of this place. I love that I can come in and eat a healthy vegan meal and give back by volunteering.” He then shared that Maggie Kane is his friend. I still cannot tell this story without tearing up. He changed my view of the homeless that day. He showed me his humanity. I was happy that I had a chance to work alongside him as we swept and mopped the floors. This one encounter had such a huge impact on me because it touched my heart, changed my way of thinking, and helped me to find compassion for those that are different than me."
It is easy for me to talk about the work we are doing in terms of statistics and numbers. It makes sense to correlate the work we are doing with the number of meals we are serving. However.....that is not the only thing we are doing. All people's lives are changing from volunteering with us, dining with us, and simply having a conversation with someone with which they normally wouldn't. My friend sat down with someone at the community table not expecting to be there long. In the thirty minutes they talked and volunteered together, they realized many things about each other, but mostly that they can be friends even among their differences.
This, my friends, is what we are doing here. Meals are being shared, hugs are being passed, and all are being welcomed. Community is happening. Come join us!
See you at the TABLE soon!