Sunday, September 25, 2011

soul food

There are all sorts of different kinds of hunger.

There is the most basic, of course, one of physical necessity. Our stomachs are empty, we must fill it. We eat to live. Though sometimes many of us forget, we either neglect our needs or over indulge our senses. We starve ourselves or stuff ourselves to death. Then there are those that are in no position to do either.

Everywhere in the world there is hunger. I've seen it in the Philippines and in India. And it happens here too, in this fabled land of plenty. Though poverty here in the United States is nothing compared to that of the developing world, it doesn't make it any better. And the sensation of empty stomachs, living on the streets, being down and out is pretty universal.

Yesterday, I joined my Tita Evelyn at the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition, a small non-profit group that exists on donations and volunteer work. My mother also cooks for them once a week. And I was eager to see what they were doing. I know from talking to them both that they loved their volunteer work, that they had tapped into a beautiful way of expressing their love for their fellow man with the hours they spent there.

Seven days a week, on the corner of Sycamore and Romaine, the coalition food truck parks and sets up a food line, where hundreds of the area's struggling men and women get a nourishing hot meal, for many of them the only food they will eat on that day.

On Friday evening, I poured juice. Later, I washed serving trays and the giant soup pot with a garden hose at the back of their kitchen head quarters. It felt good to take part, to participate in compassion in action. We fed about 250 hundred in all.

I think its a worthy service to feed those less fortunate. But there's more to it than just food. Or rather, just as there are different kinds of hunger, there are different kinds of sustenance too. At the food line, the volunteers served more than just casserole, soup, and bread. They dished out smiles and kindness, encouragement and support.

In truth, everyone needs the nourishment of soul food. We all just need to unlock our personal storerooms and freely dispense hope, faith and love, which when given out is restored two-fold. This is the food that will change our world.

If you are in LA and would like to know more about the Coalition, please check out the following YouTube video:

For more info on how you can get involved:

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