Tonight was the Food Not Bombs dinner at the HIVE. A lot of the people who eat at the FNB dinners are homeless, and some are formerly homeless. Tonight, one of my formerly homeless friends came and brought her daughter. They went in the kitchen and got out the biggest serving bowls, then came back to the meeting space and pulled out huge bags of candy that they’d brought with them, and began filling the bowls. There are lots of Glenwood neighborhood kids at the HIVE and at the FNB dinners. You should have seen their eyes! My friend and her daughter passed out candy to the kids and to all the adults. I got a Milky Way. It was so good.
Then my friend came and sat on the couch beside me, and a group of us talked about the emergency winter shelter situation. A currently homeless friend — who has been feeding other homeless people with take-home food from his catering job — sat on the other side of me, and they talked about helping homeless people. She told him about buying and cooking food and taking it to homeless people who sleep under bridges. This Thanksgiving, she’s planning to cook a turkey and invite anyone who doesn’t have a place to go — homeless or homed — to come and eat. I have a place to go, but I think I’d rather be there.
I was with another homeless friend last night who is constantly gathering things for other homeless or hungry people — clothes, furniture, resources. She cooks and serves with FNB. She volunteers with DayWatch. She is consistent, reliable and tireless. She puts others first and herself last. Always. I am in awe of her. I love her.
I’ve spent a big part of my day with another close friend, who is formerly homeless. He devotes most of his time to feeding homeless and hungry people, through FNB. Every time we have a crisis and need to mobilize and feed or serve people, he’s there. Whenever we do DayWatch, he’s there. When I need someone to move furniture, clean and organize spaces, shop for bulk stuff and load it on my truck, or just talk through the moving parts of street outreach ministry, he is there — consistent and faithful. He’s my friend. And he’s a friend to homeless and hungry people in Greensboro.
I like to help people, to serve people, to do things for people. But I also have the gift of a family who makes sure that I always have everything that I need. (Not want, but definitely need.) So I am operating and giving out of an abundance. My currently and formerly homeless friends, who are the experts on homelessness because they are or have been homeless (I am not an expert, just a grateful friend of the experts), are giving and serving out of all that they have. Every day, they teach me what sacrifice means. I cannot express to you how thankful, how honored, how overwhelmed I am to have these friends in my life. I hope that you have friends like mine. If not, I’d love to introduce you to mine sometime. I’m so not worthy of them, and yet so thankful that they keep letting me hang around.