… and third helpings. These were among the lessons that your diarist picked up tonight helping to man the “soup” kitchen at First Baptist in downtown Bellingham. Mum had this idea that what the world really needed was for the Lott family to make the meal for one of these regular Tuesday night dinners and help serve it.
She threatened to turn on the water works if we didn’t go along, so it’s hard to make the case that this was entirely consensual on our parts. Mothers’ tear ducts are like loaded weapons, I say.
It’s not that I have ever objected to feeding the homeless — well OK, there was that one time in San Francisco, but come on! –, it’s just that we can’t all be passionate about everything. There are plenty of people who want to feed the homeless, I reasoned, and why get in the way of that?
This reasoning was actually partially borne out by the experience. There were more than enough people to help on the front line, so I was doing ridiculous make-work for the first bit. Then I found a large tray resupply/coordinating support role that seemed necessary and did that.
The word soup is in scare quotes above because this kitchen didn’t dispense any sissy liquid diet. People came forward to get bread, meatballs, potatoes and salad along with coffee, milk or juice. Then we brought out brownies with whip cream for dessert.
As the the meatball supply ran down, one of the ladies on the front line asked if anybody in the kitchen would be eating. But no, even if this was a second or third helping for these folks and the food was tempting, we pretty much all figured they needed it more than we did. After all, we could afford to go out to eat after or raid the fridge at our homes.
Would I do it again? Sure. True, I didn’t feel any warm fuzzies that some people get from this sort of thing. Yet it wasn’t like it was a waste of time or effort. Folks down on their luck needed to eat and we fed them and told them that Jesus loves them. My role in all of this was miniscule, but there was nothing small about the effort.