I write about this because in most cases you don’t want to hear about this.
It’s easy to assume that it’s just laziness. It’s almost popular culture to make fun of it. But what if it ain’t laziness and it ain’t funny?
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately at a place that allows me to just be myself. I don’t do much at the LA Mission. I just go once or twice a week and exist. I’m no hero. The hero is Chef Chris. Chef Dave. Kim. They run things over here. They allow me to jump on the line or build sandwiches or peel onions or slice tomatoes.
I’m not religious and my choice to be here has nothing to do with Christianity. It has to do with the fact that I feel the most at peace to bring a little piece of something when I’m here.
I used to be out there. Out there on Hollywood Blvd. On couches that aren’t your home. In your car in parking lots waking up to people arriving for work. Riverbeds. I’ve been some places. It wasn’t just because I was lazy or a deadbeat. Sometimes but not always…
It just can all be suffocating sometimes, and you just wig the fuck out. And sometimes that shit lasts for years. Then when some fog from the mirror begins to dissipate and you see hints of a reflection, then there is a kitchen that is there to feed you.
It begins in a very simple way. Just putting hot food with nutrients back into your system. No words. Just bite. After bite.
They serve thousands each day. Something different every meal.
I’ve been to a graduation where I saw the same people I fed over a year go graduate and get back on their feet.
Fuck you Mr. Cynicism. Maybe if you did something instead of commenting then we wouldn’t be the butt of your useless humor.
These are my friends. They give me mad respect and allow me to hang on 5th and Wall. They are also guys I know. Women and children that I know. From communities I have roots in. How can that be a joke or forgotten when they can’t eat?
Maybe we as the food world can focus a little more of all our positive energy towards not just our own discoveries but towards what food is really all about, feeding people. Cultivating.
Still have fun, don’t feel guilty. It’s not your fault. But maybe use our energies to think about food beyond just what’s hip and cool and think about the homeless who have no food. Truly think about it– you’re smart, we’re smart, collectively. Think about it on a daily basis and I’m sure something will come of it. Day in day out, street by street, tummy by tummy. Like an accountant on a spreadsheet.
That’s how I got here. Street by street. Line by line. It can happen. Anything can happen.
Just think about homelessness more than just at Thanksgiving, and I’m confident you will find your own way to help.