New Year’s Eve: Serving Dinner at the Iowa Shelter

After the generous donation from Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, I, along with a fantastic group of friends was able to serve a robust (and limitless) dinner to 120 of Iowa’s hungry and homeless on New Year’s Eve.  Of course mother nature planned to drop to her lowest temps of the year so the hot meal was welcome.

There was even enough food left over to have a full meal again the next day…even after some ate 5 servings.

It bothers me that this is the first time I’ve done such a thing.  It bothers me that my first reactions when moving through groups of homeless and disheveled people are nervousness and uneasiness.  It bothers me that many of these people are drunk and high  It bothers me that some of them are probably there by choice.  It bothers me that we don’t treat veterans like heroes.  It bothers me that I didn’t exactly know what to say to everyone and that what I think I should say would be different than to anyone else I meet.  In 2008 I will do my best to openly accept others outside my comfort zone more readily.

It took about 20 minutes to really break down some of the barriers and just "get in the groove" with everyone and you know what…it really turned out great.  There were genuinely appreciative people that told a story of thanks with their eyes. You can’t help but wonder about their stories and how they ended up there.  Some looked like they just drove over after getting off of work from their manager position at Wells Fargo.  Some were obviously mentally ill and struggling to cope. 

We’ve all decided that this is an annual event (at the least).  Thanks again to all.  Please remember as we cozy up in our beautiful homes in the suburbs…that there are hungry and homeless people sleeping in bunks…in very large rooms with 50+ people..just trying to make it through to tomorrow. 

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One thought on “New Year’s Eve: Serving Dinner at the Iowa Shelter”

  1. It really is amazing isn’t it Doug? While working for Youth & Shelter Services I had the opportunity to visit the homeless camps along the Des Moines River, blocks from a thriving downtown Des Moines.
    Its an experience I will never forget.
    Keep me posted on any future meals. I’d be happy to contribute or help out.

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