April and our grandsons helped me make the pot of turkey gumbo and a big roaster pan of beans, rice and zucchini for last night. It was a hardy soup with the meat and broth from a whole roasted turkey, 2 pounds of chopped red sweet peppers, 2 fennels, 2 pounds of okra, 2 diced onions, 2 pounds of sliced carrots, 1-1/2 pounds of quartered radishes, 2 pounds of chopped beets, 2 chopped kohlrabi, fresh corn from 10 ears, fresh basil, fresh parsley, turmeric, chicken broth, fresh garlic, a diced ginger root, and fresh ground black pepper.
I washed out the large, agate, turkey roaster pan and put the zucchini mixture that April had made. It had a jalapeno pepper, onion, sweet red pepper, and all sorts of seasonings, sauteed in olive oil. I made a rice cooker full of whole grain rice with some turmeric added to the water. I mixed in the rice, three cans of black beans and added a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder, a bit more water and stirred it all up. Then I put the lid on and put it in the oven to slow roast at 180 for 4 hours.
I cleaned up the kitchen and loaded up the TKJ-mobile with the baked goods, the crackers and chips. I went to Giant and bought the 10 gallons of iced tea and 350 hot/cold cups and more spoons and another bottle of hot sauce. I filled the hand washing station with hot water and loaded that in the car. Kristi brought a few loaves of sandwiches. Brian arrived and helped me remember the spoon and ladle. Then Serge arrived with several more loaves of sandwiches. So it was 7 and Brian and I left for the city. At 8, we arrived at 1801 Vine in center city. Billy and his wife, Julie, and their two daughters were there along with Stephen and Anthony. They and a couple of the other guys helped us unload and set up. The line was all the way across the park already. Bob arrived with his homemade cookies. A couple of young people from Inner-City Mission were playing guitar and singing and using a cardboard box for percussion. We got all set up. Billy asked the musicians to stop for a moment so he could say a blessing for the food. Then we started serving.
A few more volunteers arrived and joined the line. We ran out of everything. The McGraws showed up with pasta and sauce just as we ran out of soup and beans and rice. Everyone who was there when we arrived got something to eat, but some who arrived later got very little or nothing. We saw several new faces we had never seen before. Several of these were very frustrated and agitated at having missed out on dinner. Once the major cuts in food stamps kick in in November, I can’t imagine what the situation will be.
I just can’t imagine it would be God’s will for us to stop now. We are in an impossible situation, financially and vocationally. The business is closed. Bethann is out of work and unemployment is running out. No one has registered for the Hummus Open golf tournament. I do have a woodworking job next week. There are some projects at Cogsville that we hope will start to pay off. A couple of donations came in from new donors in the last couple of days.
The need is just too great. People need to step up. This is not the time for us to be quitting. The safety net in place since the Great Depression has been largely dismantled. It’s time to put up or shut up. That’s on top of the fact that it would just kill me to stop. This is not just something I happen to do on Thursday nights. It is when I am most fully alive. Maybe it’s as simple as that old song: “Everybody eats when they come to my house!”
I’m sure it’s not. I’m sure there are better reasons to give than to make me happy. Consider this. If this ministry folds and November comes, there may be blood running in the streets. Ours is not the only ministry that is underfunded. The spirit of meanness has infected much of the country. Even though tax rates are down and stocks are up, nothing is trickling down and charitable giving has declined, because the super-rich don’t give to the poor. Most giving to the poor comes from the lower middle class. There is hardly any lower middle class left. Seriously, this country is not prepared for what is going to happen when people run out of food, and worse yet, run out of food for their children, due to the meanness of these legislators and their worship of Ayn Rand atheism.
May God have mercy and deliver us from our foolishness and greed.