Earlier this week, I saw a post on Facebook by my friend Greens. He wrote that he was looking for help with organizing and preparing a Thanksgiving meal for the young homeless community in Hollywood. Greens used to be one of them. He spent years of his life on the street, struggling with addiction. With the support from others, he was finally able to get out of homelessness. Now 27, Greens has a home, a girlfriend and a job. And he wants to give back.
We were more than happy to team up with him. Many of the kids he used to hang out with are still on the streets, and we have come to know them as guests at our monthly Free Laundry Nights.
Since Greens didn’t know where to serve the meal yet, we reached out to Andrew, the Director of Operations at the Hollywood Adventist Church, to ask if we could set up on the church’s parking lot. Not only did he agree right away, he actually offered us to use their banquet hall and kitchen, as well as tables and chairs.
It was such a last minute idea, we had just one day to get it all done, but it worked out beautifully. Greens and his girlfriend Clarissa cooked two turkeys, his friends Matt and Amanda prepared the side dishes, A Million Drops’ members Scott and Denise baked bread and apple cobbler, and we used some of the money that was donated to us to buy apple cider, and things like table cloths, plates, cups etc.
The first guests arrived at 1:30, and for the next 2 hours more kept coming. We fed about 25 young people (and a couple of dogs), and they all got to take to go bags with them as well. We sat down with them, and got the chance to learn a little bit about their lives. Most of them have an email account, and we exchanged contact info so we will be able to stay in touch. Now they can reach out to us with special needs, like sleeping bags or toiletries, and we can let them know about upcoming events, like our monthly Free Laundry Nights.
At the end of the day, one of our guests discovered the piano in the back of the room and he played for us while we started to pack and clean up.
It was a special day; we are thankful that Greens reached out to us about participating, and we are especially thankful to the Hollywood Adventist Church for letting us use their banquet hall on such short notice.