Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cooking for the Homeless

 I'll tell you, this has been quite an experience.  At this point I have made almost 6000 individual meals since the 1st of the year.  I admit it is a lot of work but it is also the most rewarding thing I have ever done.  The people I feed are so gracious and unabashedly thankful.  My heart breaks almost every time I visit the shelter.  They serve all the food on Styrofoam plates and bowls and they eat with plastic cutlery.  I can't image eating each and every meal this way.  Yesterday when we dropped food off, they had piles of old pizzas that someone donated. The pizzas looked they were sitting somewhere for days and were totally dried out.  Someone had donated some stale desserts and I saw an old gentleman poking at it with his finger to see how hard it was.  A guy next to him asked how it was and the man replied...too hard for me. Just because you are hungry, it doesn't mean you will eat just anything at all.  Someone asked me recently if my skills might be better used if I taught these people how to cook for themselves. Though this might be a good idea, I am sure many of them already know how to cook.  They have no stoves or refrigerators under the bridges where they sleep.  So, for now I am cooking for them whenever I can.

 Remember recently that someone gave me a bunch of beets and sweet potatoes?  A rather strange combo but I have been slowly using them up.  I made sweet potato and sausage soup a while back and this is what I did with the rest.  I found eggs on sale for 99 cents a dozen and bought ten dozen.


And then I boiled the beets. These were the biggest beets I have ever seen.  It took almost 4 hours for them to cook.
 Then The Blog Tech and I peeled and sliced.  It took forever!

 An the eggs, of course, gave me fits.  120 difficult to peel eggs.

 The Blog Tech and I were beet red....really!  I forgot to take pics of the sweet potatoes but I baked a hundred of them and mashed them with cream, butter and salt & pepper.  They were so good.  My kitchen looked like a massacre had occurred.

And we made trays of cornbread which is one of their most favorite treats! I made 6 of these.
 And yes, a honey bear was injured in the making of this cornbread.

I feel deep in my heart that these people, though down on their luck, deserve the best possible food they can get.  I can't imagine not having a home and a decent meal to eat off a plate with utensils. I also can't imagine having nothing to look forward to.  I know they can't wait for me to show up to see what I have prepared for them.  It makes me sleep better at night.  The Blog Tech is going through a training session on Thursday so he can actually start volunteering at the shelter.  I am so proud of him for helping.

36 comments:

thecottagebythecranelaketwo said...

Some people really should think before opening their mouth. Do they really think people goes to the shelter just because they can't cook? I mean, there are funnier places to go to.

And I agree, people should have deacent food even if they are poor so I can fully understand how happy they must be when they see You coming :-)

Have a great day!
Christer.

edenhills said...

You truly are inspirational! Blessed be.

Patty Woodland said...

I told you before I think - you would not believe what people "donated" to the food bank; out of date food from the 1990s, opened packages of food. It was mind set like - well they're hungry, they'll eat anything and be grateful for it. It drove me insane. And they wanted receipts and feet kissing for the donations.

Some people do not understand the need or how people come to need the services. There is a lot of "well if they just...." Well, it's not that simple. Oy - I'll get off my soapbox now. Sorry to rant in your comments

TARYTERRE said...

You are a godsend. I know these people appreciate what you do.

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

I'm proud of the blogtech too, Joyce. I love the way you put it , Down on their luck. I know people who have gone to shelters for food, and are now holding down jobs and cooking in their own kitchens. I'm sure this food cooked with heart makes them feel nutured in more ways than one.
xxxxx

Laurie said...

I'm proud of you both,

Jan said...

You are one of the most wonderful people that I am proud to blog with. Your heart is so big and you truly care for these homeless people and I'll bet they return this feeling to you~~~

Tournesol said...

It really is true that one person can make a difference : )

Megs said...

I feel honored to know you.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

It's so sad in the 21st Century that we have to have shelters, but thankfully we do have them.

Many people would be surprised to know that a lot of homeless are educated - and for some reason they couldn't hold it together. However, with programs, some of these folks that are down on their luck can get it back together.

Like you, I can't imagine eating off paper and plastic every day - gee I even pack my lunch in glass containers and bring silverware from home.

Do you know if your shelter would be interested in having dishes donated? How about making donations directly to the shelter? Let me know your thoughts.

You are an inspiration, and you've inspired your own child (I know he's grown) - how wonderful is that! All I can say is keep up the good work!

Debby said...

I am so proud of both of you. You are an amazing caring giving person. You are so right that these people are deserving. They are down on their luck. They don't ask to be in there situation. Things just haven't gone the direction that it needed to go. So hard for them to get back on track. Last night they had one of those online pledge events on our local news for hte homeless. They said it takes 2 years to find them housing. Of course when they show the women with little children, I want to take them all in. It is so sad. I wish I lived closer I would help you. GOd bless you.

Cuisine de Provence said...

Bravo for all the effort and the love you pour into these meals!

Debra She Who Seeks said...

What a heartwarming and uplifting post. Too bad Honey Bear bought the farm, though.

Michele said...

You and your son are so inspiring. I've really enjoyed seeing the lovely dishes you've made. Everything looks so tasty and pretty.

petoskystone said...

There are many who don't understand the concept of 'generosity'. It involves more than out dated foods & cardboard pizzas.

littlemancat said...

It's a wonderful thing that you and your son are sharing. The kindness and the sheer stamina of doing this just amazes me. Bless you and those you cook for.
Mary

the wild magnolia said...

Tears welled up in my eyes reading this. Your compassion is showing, blog tech's too. I am proud of you both.

They do deserve the best. Most people do not get it. Whatever their circumstance they are a fellow human beings.

I too cannot imagine have to live the way they do. No clean linens, no glass plants and such, no silverware.

A many, i think, having no family who cares.

Barbara F. said...

I was always amazed at your cooking talent. This is such a beautiful thing you are doing. xo

Dirgesinger said...

Both of you are angels.

Dee said...

What a wonderful thing you are doing for the people at the shelter.

jody said...

so glad that you are happy cooking for those who truly appreciate it! you are a wonderful cook and a wonderful person! enjoy!

Nellie said...

What you are doing is a REAL blessing to the people at the shelter. They are not homeless because they don't know how to cook, and they deserve something besides dried out castoffs! You are providing this, and those who wish to make negative comments would be better served giving a donation to you as you are providing better meals.

Guillaume said...

That's how it should be done really. I remember when at school we were asked to donate to food banks around Christmas, there was one request: no tomato juice or tomato soup. Because it was often all they were getting.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

Many hugs, to the both of you!

You my Dear, are doing gooooood. And inspiring the Blog Tech too.

Doesn't get much better than this.

Hugs, hugs, hugs, hugs, hugs,
"Auntie"

Debby said...

PLEASE read my post today. I wrote it just for you. http://cozyblanket.blogspot.com/

Amanda said...

Not only is it a wonderful thing to do for others, but is also fun to see what recipes you come up with!! Yay for blog tech, what a great mother/teacher he has :)Cheers!!

Kim Covell-Campbell said...

You are amazing!

Barb said...

You and the blog tech should be highly commended! I would feel so guilty giving anyone stale food.

Mountainrose said...

I am always surprised when people try to say that the homelsss deserve less. That is so not true. Having gone to food banks and been at bread give outs, I get frustrated that a good portion is beyond the eatable stage and yet someone is expecting someone to eat it. Why or why give away something that you yourself would not, could not eat? When I give to any shelter or food bank I give only what I myself would eat.. but I have often wondered, how many times such "gifts" ended up in a hands of those there to help instead of one of those who is being helped. I know it happens. At least at Free Bread places that those who hand out the bread, get first pick.

1st Man said...

You are, quite simply, amazing. Thank you for what you do.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

Knowing you has been one of the blessings in my life, and the more I learn about you, the more honored I feel to have you in my life.
My tiny snowmen are watching me write this. Year round they will watch from my desk top.
It isn't ONLY the food you prepare and give the less fortunate, it's your heart you share with them.
Tell "the blog tech" thumbs up! :)
Mona

MandaBurms said...

Pretty awesome that blog tech is signing up to make a difference too.But with such a role model why he just has had some of the best stuff put in him while he was being raised.
Love Leanne
PS those eggs look way fresh, fresh eggs from the coop are real hard to peel like your ones are in photo.

PansWife said...

Wow. I was the one who said something about teaching cooking classes and apparently my comments were misunderstood . I didn't mean you should teach the homeless. I thought I stated you might want to organize a cooking class to help people who rely on FOOD PANTRIES. I helped start a food pantry almost 20 years ago and one of the things we found was many people who came to the pantry did not know how to use simple, cheap ingredients to make themselves a healthy meal. They mostly relied on processed food and assumed soup only came in cans and bread in a plastic wrapper. People often donated things like flour, sugar, lentils, fresh vegetables, but our clients didn't know what to make with them and often rejected these items because of that. We started cooking classes in order to teach people how to use these simple ingredients to feed themselves and their families with very little money. The majority had never cooked from scratch before. We helped people feel empowered with a new skill and many of them went on to become decent cooks. Really, all I meant was you might want to consider sharing your skills with people whose life you might change by doing so. I apologize for raising so many hackles, it was certainly not my intention. :o(

Deb said...

An excellent and sensible suggestion @ParisWife. I also feel our school lunches in the UK (and most likely US) would benefit from Joyce's expertise!

John'aLee said...

Our world would be such a better place if there were more 'you's' in it my friend. Bless you!

luckybunny said...

I peeled 5 eggs the other day and was frustrated with them. You are my hero. I can completely understand that not just is it wonderful for you to do this - it's amazing for the people whom you are doing this for, who normally do not get to eat such amazing home cooked food, fresh and full of love. It must be a huge blessing to them and I'm sure in a way to you - giving is so fulfilling.But it's such a huge amount of work. Bless you for doing it.