Peanut butter and jelly. That's what covered my kitchen table this morning, as my oldest and her friend made sandwiches for the homeless. We were putting them in lunch bags, decorated by my resident artists, along with homemade cookies my mom made, and clementines.
Knowing the girls were too young to volunteer in a Soup Kitchen, I decided we would just go to Hartford and hand them out. An hour later, we met my father in a little park, near the Parkville section of Hartford. A former counselor to many in the area, my dad seems to know everyone, especially those in need. And he knew exactly who could use some lunch, and who needed a visit from my little elves.
Arriving at a little green with few benches and many people, we were greeted by Homer- a friend of my dad's who I'm sure is homeless and my father has either just met or has known for 30 years. Homer informed us that he was here to help hand out sandwiches. So baskets in hand, we began handing out our little lunch bags.
It was both humbling and sad to see so many people come over when they saw we were handing out food. So sad to see them, with thin coats, and many without hats or gloves, out in the cold. But as we wished them a "Merry Christmas", many smiled back, so apprecitive and saying "God Bless You" to the girls. The Christmas spirit was among them, they were spreading it.
Homer was on the move, chatting to everyone and helping us hand out bags, knowing who had taken too many, and directing us to another area of the park.
My youngest asked if we could make more sandwiches and bring them back. My daughter's friend, wished we had brought socks for everyone, and my oldest asked if we could come back every day.
We were all touched.
I told the girls, we would definitely come back. We might not be able to help everybody in need, but for those 30 people who ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich yesterday, it might have been their only meal.
I purposely did not take any pictures out of respect. However as we were leaving, Homer and my dad were hugging goodbye, and I asked if I could snap one of the two of them. With a big smile, Homer exclaimed, "Yes, of course! Let me get my camera-smile on."