We’ve been blessed to connect with a small group of awesome people who are dedicated to trying to help improve the lives of folks who live in the inner city of our hometown. Many of the people they’re helping are homeless, near-homeless, disabled, addicted or otherwise struggling.
Every Thursday night we gather for an open community supper. Most of the people who attend are extremely poor. I’ve blogged about our suppers before (HERE-my most viewed blog post ever). Feeding hungry people is a good thing, but it’s really no big deal. There are plenty of feeding programs. What makes our suppers special is that we’ve developed a sense of family and community. Many of those who can’t afford to bring food will help set up or clean up. We know each other’s names and stories. The gathering feels like family, even though we’re of all different races and ages. We live on both sides of the tracks.
As I type this, we’ve just returned from this weeks gathering. It was great to see our friends. There were some truly amazing and inspirational stories in the room. One of our friends there was homeless and living in the woods two years ago, having been an alcoholic for 40 years. He has completely turned his life around. Now he’s sober and a leader in the group. A few weeks ago he proudly told me that he’d just gotten his first paycheck in 13 years.
Another of our friends there is still battling drug addiction. But now he has some good dedicated friends to support him in his battle. He’s a kind-hearted man. Tonight he made the dessert.
There were lots of folks with stories like that there tonight. Some are getting better. Some aren’t. But there is no judgment and no agenda when we get together. It’s just supper with friends.
But tonight one of our regulars wasn’t there. One of the sweetest women I’ve ever met, she’s become a special friend of ours and we look forward to seeing her every week.
One of the leaders of the group, beaming with joy, told us why she wasn’t there. She moved into her own house today. With lots of help and encouragement from the group, she left the run-down, drug-infested apartment building where she’d been living for years–trapped by corruption and a slumlord. Our friends helped her move and she skipped the supper to finish unpacking and settling in.
Another small victory for goodness in a dark place. Another crack that is letting in light.
Tonight I’m happy for my friend and happy to see another example of what love can do.