Wednesday, August 19, 2009

LA Soup Kitchen

An experience of heart and body.

Hard work, for sure.

Gallons of milk poured.

Bread buttered by the ton.

Bags of bagels sliced.

Tomatoes and diced onions served up.

On top of

Salad and

Hearty lentil stew and

Scrambled eggs.

Homemade by folks

Who know their way around hot stoves

And boiling pots.

Met a lot of people.

Teared up a few times.

Heart moved with the pageantry of

The long slow line:

Folks receiving what is given,

Folks giving what they have.

Donated food, for sure, and thank God.

Dated, but good.






And maybe, even the corner of a

Depleted soul.

Twice we prayed … start of the day … and before we served … “not food,” said Jeff; “we serve people.”

O God, when I have food,

Help me to remember the hungry.

Catholic Workers ...

Volunteers ...

Two lovely ladies from Westchester ...

Know some folks I know.

Sweet … they know how to

Stack the buttered bread in the blue

Laundry baskets, just so, and just right.

I could imagine them fussing in

Their own kitchens, for Christmas Dinner or

Someone’s birthday.

That’s how careful they were.

Two young girls – one from Ohio; her friend from Virginia.

The father of the Ohio girl, a marine weapons' instructor ...

Jeff the manager ... he runs a tight ship.

Cooks and bottle-washers ...

Maybe 15 volunteers in all …

A virtuoso piano player …

Playing from memory …

Gosh, he was good – concert-hall level, or so it seemed to me.

I think he used to live on the streets.

He lives in the Worker House now.

Catholic Workers …

Sons and daughter of Dorothy Day.

A tough woman

Who smoked and




Tough problems, with a

Deep love for Jesus … the Jesus of

The Bible …

The One who loved folks so profoundly,

To remind us of the Father’s love so unconditionally.

For the street people:

Folks down on their luck ...

Part-time workers …

Struggling to make it ...

Words float through my mind:

Homeless …

Unwanted …

Used up and

Abused …

Young and strong.

Old and senile.

Women of the street … you know what I mean.

Men of the street, too …

What one does to make a few bucks.

Anything to survive.

A mélange of the streets:

The mentally challenged ...

Dazed and weary ...

Singing and mumbling …

Staring off into some world unseen by me.

The old woman shuffling through the day …

Cheerful and cordial … polite and soft-spoken.

“Thank you, thank you – could I have one more tomato slice, please?”

“No thanks, uh uh … to much acid.”

The young man with the sparkling eyes …

Who believes he’s going to make it.

Like a box of crayons,



Color and size and shape ...

Some hardly used at all,

Some just bits and pieces ...

“Our task,” said Jeff, “is to see

The Face of

Jesus in every face

We see.”

Yes, now I remember, Matthew 25 …

LORD, everyone of them, tattered and tired

As they may be … are





© The Rev. Dr. Thomas P. Eggebeen, Los Angeles, CA

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