This week’s post is from Better Together Committee Member and Free Meals Intern, Shea Daniels.
As Free Meals Interns Samantha, Michael and myself learned the economy was tanking long before any news broadcast told us. We have gone from feeding 50 on Thursdays this time last year, to 80+ each Thursday currently. On Saturdays we serve about thirty. Times are tough. Donations aren’t going up. We aren’t like the fancy free meals programs who have the luxury of planning ahead; we run as close to 100% donations as possible. We walk in, see what food has showed up, and within three hours have compiled a meal from whatever is available.
We believe there will always be food. Sometimes, on foodless days when it’s quiet, you can find me sitting patiently in the basement where our kitchen is located. If you were to ask “what are you doing Shea?” I would tell you, “I am waiting for the food.” I sit and wait and sit and wait and sometimes, when the waiting stretches long, I turn on music and wash chairs to pass my time. I wash chairs and I wait for food.
It always comes. Someone always walks in with a box or a bag and in that box or bag will be cabbage or carrots or rice or corn. We wait for the food that is going to arrive, and always in the nick of time, it arrives
Here in UCM’s kitchen we believe in the loaves in the fishes. “What is that,” you ask? Well, dear reader, the fishes and the loaves is a Christian story. Jesus, in his attempt to feed the masses, doesn’t have enough food. In fact he has far from enough food. I’ve heard this called the miracle of the multitude or the miracle of the five loaves and two fish. This miracle fed 5000.
None of us in the kitchen particularly identify as Christian. I identify as something closer to Christian but not necessarily as Christian. Michael was raised in the Eastern Orthodox church and is a wanna-be Buddhist. Samantha was raised Jewish. But we all believe in the fishes and the loaves. Because we’re pretty sure that when you want to feed people, the food will always come. In fact, on quiet foodless days, you can find me listening to music, washing chairs, and waiting.