PCC Redmond feeds Tent City 4
What did you enjoy for dinner yesterday? And where?
Last night I joined more than 50 homeless folks for dinner in the basement of St. Jude's Parish in Redmond, the site of the roving Tent City 4 homeless camp. Volunteers from nearby PCC Redmond served up a hot meal of PCC vittles: Meatloaf crafted from fresh-ground buffalo, a Cuban black bean torta, creamy potato salad, ripe red Washington cherries and jugs of icy cool Odwalla lemonade.
Did I mention the organic green salad, served by Justine?
And the fresh blueberry crisp?
Delicious. And a gut check for myself and others for whom full bellies are something taken for granted. Talking to Karl, a recently homeless former welder from Detroit, put life into perspective (he's in the hat on the right).
Here's a man who had to leave behind everything he knows, including friends and family, in hopes of a second chance at a career. "I've never been so down in my life," he said. "I've been through a few of these things and I've never seen it so bad as far as the economy."
It makes you want to do more. Last night, the Redmond team was able to bring a smile to Karl's exhausted face via five helpings of meatloaf he said reminded him of Mom's cooking. What will we do tomorrow to help our neighbors in need? Here are a few ideas.
Celeste, the PCC Redmond store director, was thrilled by how many store volunteers stepped up to help. Some came in over the weekend to prep in the deli on their days off. The produce manager came in early to bake dessert. Paridon Williams, a Real Change vendor at the Redmond store, volunteered to serve (he's the tall fellow with the smile like a sunbeam below). Even the idea to bring dinner to Tent City came internally, from the mother of courtesy clerk Tim, whose family has attended the parish for decades.
"Working at events like this is an eye opener because we work in a place bursting with great food. To have people who are hungry -- that's really sad," said Celeste. "And if we can help alleviate that, that's really great."