Working on the budget brought home to me the growth we have experienced this year and it leaves me breathless. Wow! How did we get here?
I have an answer to that question: Hospitality!
In fall of 2011, I was part of the small group of volunteers, led by Josef Hinkofer, that started making dinner for Tent City 3, but making those dinners was not the catalyst to change. Rather it was the moment in 2012 when we decided to bring the campers here for Christmas Day dinner.
When Josef first presented the idea, it seemed impossible! Yet we took a deep breath and went forward. Every challenge was greeted with a solution, almost like magic. Mission to Seafarers loaned us drivers and vans to pick up the campers and bring them here. There was this huge crew in the kitchen roasting/carving turkeys, making dressing. Volunteers packed ditty bags so every guest had a present. We had volunteers from the neighborhood that dropped in to help. We had more volunteers than we had jobs.
For me, there was a feeling, a spirit that felt like being in the center of the flow of Grace.
After that Christmas Day, we began the process that eventually led to us hosting TC 3 here. There were many fears/concerns, yet in January 2014, the campers came, and when the temperature dropped below freezing, the only questions I got were what we were doing to help the campers keep warm. Now, I get asked almost every week, “When we will get TC3 back?”
Now every Tuesday at the Community Dinner I experience that same feeling—warmth of spirit and joy. Br. John put together some numbers for us. During the month of January, we served 1,115 people from our kitchen. That spirit I felt Christmas 2012 is still flowing!