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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

everyone should wear a hair net at least once

      After much searching on "the google," as one of the characters in Jason's really funny screenplay that I just read would say, I found a church in San Francisco that allows volunteers to help them serve the hungry.  This church is called Glide United Methodist Church, and serves the hungry three meals a day.  Wow. Actually, they serve more meals to the under privileged than any other organization in the country. 


     So anyway, my friend Emily and I set out to find it today.  We got there around 3:30, were given a short orientation from Shirley, who basically just told us about the church, and then were escorted to their cafeteria.  We were given plastic aprons, plastic gloves, a hair net, and a special paper sailor-looking hat to wear.  I tried to get out of wearing the hair net, since my hair is so short, but the guy who ran the kitchen said one thing: it's the law.  Oh. Well, far it be from me to break the law over such an insignificant issue as my own stupid vanity...There were probably about ten of us volunteers--most were handling the food and scooping it onto trays.  Emily was given the salt and pepper to handle--one packet of each per tray, which she executed like a pro--while I was given the task of actually handing the trays to the patrons.  

     Well, I loved this job.  I got to make eye contact with people, smile at them, and tell them that I hoped they enjoyed their meal.  However, there was one volunteer that had been overlooked, and was simply sleeping in a chair behind us.  She was discovered before too long, and since she looked to be about 200 years old, they decided to give her my job (although I noticed that she didn't hand people the trays; she merely shoved them a little closer to each person, and she certainly did not make eye contact with them, but whatever)--and I was sent to handle the fried chicken.   

   I was sandwiched between two seventeen year-olds that did not seem to want to be there too much.  The girl to my left was from Michigan and in San Fran for a summer art school.  She was here staying with her uncle, who she'd seen only once before--and they were not too close.  Now all the while that we were scooping out our respective food and talking, there was a man who was handling the corn and was pretty frantic and I guess a little slow.  The guy who ran the kitchen would come up to the the Corn Man every once in a while and encourage him to work faster.  So, anyway, I was asking the art student girl where she got the idea to come volunteer and she simply said, my uncle, with a sidelong and annoyed look at Corn Man.  I was like, Oh--the corn guy is your uncle?!?! For some reason, this struck me as hilarious and I laughed out loud.  

   The girl on my right was annoying me because when Corn Man would yell out that we needed to hold up on the assembly line because he needed to wait for more corn, she would just not stop scooping her cous cous.  I was even like, look you need to stop scooping, because there is nowhere to put the trays while we are waiting for the corn. And she was like, I don't stop for anyone. I think she even said some quote like, Time waits for no man, which further annoyed me.  She started stacking the trays--with food--on top of each other, so I finally had to say something.  Again.  I told her she probably shouldn't do that because it could make the food dirty, and she just said, These people are getting a free meal; you think they care if it's dirty? The lady next to her was like, You have a bad attitude. Just because someone is homeless does not mean that we should not care about the quality of their food--stop stacking the trays. Then this girl came back with a rebuttal, They don't even say thank you or god bless or anything...Which was not true, anyway, because when I had the job of handing them the trays (before Grandmother Willow took over), they always thanked me.  But I told the girl, Listen, some of these people may be embarrassed--they may just not want to talk to us, which is fine.  So anyway, I didn't much care for her and it was hard to understand why she was there, but I noticed she stopped stacking the trays. 

      I want to say that it was really fun work, but honestly--I looked at the clock a lot.  Scooping the chicken was mindless work and it made me very grateful for my job.  Also, after two hours of standing behind the steamy, hot chicken, my back and feet were aching and I was getting a little bothered by the heat.  However, I did love serving people.  I liked smiling at people and trying to brighten their day just a little.  I understand their problems are worse than a smile can solve, but still--I was happy to be there and at least show that I care.  I felt good because I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that this was exactly the kind of the thing that Jesus is into.
My friend John wants to come with me (and is a little upset that I didn't tell him I was going--oops)--so I think we are gonna go again later in the week...Maybe I will get to hand them the trays again; that would be nice.   Oh, and as soon as the clock struck 5:30, the art student to my left was like, I'm out, and went and just sat down and watched us try to be just as quick in our assembly line even though we were now down a man.  So for a little bit, I was handling the chicken and the recently abandoned gravy.  

        Afterwards we had a show. It was fantastic tonight.  Maybe the best yet in San Francisco.  The audience was great and responsive and I felt good and connected with my character.  Tomorrow is a two-show day, which I will take any week because it means one show on Sunday and a nice long break till Tuesday...Okay, that's all for now.   

9 comments:

Mom said...

We loved your blog today. The whole Vineyard conference was about how we need to be Christians who are doing both evangelism AND service. We were told that churches often major in one and are neglectful and even possibly derisive about the other. But that early Christians and famous Christians--like Wesley and Finney--did both and encouraged both. Of course, it felt good to serve. You were right in the middle of God's will, sore back and all.

Remember when we tried to serve in a soup kitchen at Thanksgiving and were turned down?

Jonathan Latshaw said...

I just read an article about how my Bono loves that church! Small world!

jason said...

Yes, that's the church I told you about that Bono loved. Cool that you found it!

Jessica Latshaw said...

Jonathan, that is so sweet that you call Bono "my Bono"--I am sure he would appreciate that!

Lady Leth said...

Its like San fran is this weird place where strange things happen. I can't wait to read more happenings!

pop said...

I find that whenever I've done stuff free for the disadvantaged, my heart feels warm and totally 'at one' with God and his will. It's a feeling that is hard to convey to others until they've experienced it. Serving "the least" is somehow touching God. After all, Jesus said, 'when you serve the least of my brethren, you serve Me' (loose paraphrase). I guess it's not that way, though, if you're forced to serve others--then it's a form of slavery, I guess--like the girl related to the corn man. Has to be willingly, from the heart.

KathieK said...

It's wonderful that you had an opportunity to do that, Jess!

Jessica Latshaw said...

Mom--I also remember that pop was the first one who walked into the soup kitchen we were volunteering at, and they thought that he was coming to be served--not volunteer! I think he was wearing one of those really ratty coats he has, or something:-)

pop said...

Ratty coats???? Well-worn perhaps. Faded and cool, no doubt. Ratty? Never! I think I might have had some food stains on my sneakers though...

pop