It was dusk, and we sat at oblong tables laid for a meal- forks, knives, spoons, tablecloths, in a space I’m used to seeing filled with rows of folding chairs with an inspiring film playing in the dark. Instead, the space was lively and bright, with clusters of chatter and people going in and out. As people trickled in, food was heaped on plates from the buffet, and conversation began to flow.
Two hours earlier, a crew of five – Peter, Chris, Victoria, Diana, and Yon – had shopped, chopped, sautéed, tossed and simmered this bountiful menu at Victoria’s beautiful home: chicken stew, vegan vegetable stew, salad with dressing, two types of fruit salad,
mushrooms, brown and white rice, baguettes, and oranges. The food was carried over to the UUCPA church and served.
It sounds like an ordinary dinner or potluck, like so many we have had in Transition Palo Alto, but this one was different. This time we weren’t just cooking for ourselves, but for others, in particular for those who are less fortunate this winter. Like other things in Transition, it was community-building for a greater purpose.
In partnership with Heart and Home Collaborative, we fed not our usual members but instead housed and unhoused members of the community, joining in on what they do every day. We mingled, listening wide-eyed at their struggles this winter, connecting eye to eye with neighbors, offering an ear and shoulder, being heard and seen ourselves.
Soon it was not just our bellies that were full, but also our hearts.
As I and my children headed home for bedtime, we reflected, grateful for all we have, for all we can offer, and the knowledge that if ever we, too, are in need, we have a loving circle who will feed us and welcome us with open arms.