Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Loaves Thanksgiving

I apologize for taking so long to update. It's so easy to get caught up in life. I come back to my blog on Loaves & Fishes' Thanksgiving. I realize Thanksgiving is still 2 days away, but Loaves celebrates the Tuesday before due to the abundance of Thanksgiving dinners offered in Sacramento. Thanksgiving was the first main holiday that I was able to see celebrated at Loaves and Fishes (I was sick on Halloween, but it also wasn't as big of a celebration).

Today we fed 1,052 guests, as well as the staff of Loaves and Fishes. That is an extremely large number, but I don't think of that as the miracle I saw today. The miracle could be the homeless guests enjoying the music of the blues band playing on our deck throughout the day. Seeing a crowd around the deck and watching people dance around and have a great time. The miracle might be all of the volunteers who came to help us today rather than spend a day at work or with their families. Maybe the miracle was the line of stocking caps, gloves, scarfs, etc. waiting for the guests as the exited lunch. It could even be as simple as seeing one of the guests that used to come every day but hadn't been at the park in at least 2 weeks.

Sure, there were people that got kicked out of the park today. Some for disrespecting staff and trying to start fights. Others for bringing drugs and alcohol into our drug free environment. The few that tried to cause trouble could not succeed in bringing down everyone's day. There were too many people and too much love for 4 or 5 people to ruin the day. It was a beautiful day at Friendship Park. It was neither too cold nor too hot. The trees are in their fall colors and looking gorgeous in the blue sky. Most importantly, you can just feel the love in the air. It's definitely the holiday season. You can feel it without snow on the ground, hot chocolate in your hand, and your immediate family around. The guests are each others' families. Loaves and Fishes is a beautiful and unique organization. It's somewhere that you have to visit to understand, and then you have to reflect to realize how beautiful of a place it truly is. I'm sure that I've already mentioned this in a previous post, but back in September, we had a carnival at the park celebrating it's 20th anniversary. At the carnival, I'd made cotton candy all day (which was a big hit, the guests love their sugar). The director of Loaves and Fishes, Sister Libby, mentioned to Garren and Jim (my bosses) that we were in the "Kingdom of Heaven." On days like today, and the carnival, I realize how much I believe her statement.

Pies being cut for Thanksgiving Dinner. (Pumpkin, Pecan, & Apple)

Donations of socks and underwear from the First Responders.