Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day Four: Junk Food Lines

This morning the line for breakfast at Glide extended two full city blocks. Above is a photo of the second block of the line. When we finally arrived inside for food there was a notice on the wall that proclaimed that the coffee company who donated the coffee was no longer able to donate because of the economy, so there was no coffee this morning.

At a meeting earlier this month I learned that Glide was trying to figure out a way to cut its meals by 20%. For the first time Glide may have to limit people to just one meal or limit the number of people that they feed each meal. As I spend my day working at Welcome and operating our Tuesday drop in meal called the Welcome Center that provides a light lunch from 2-4pm, I wonder about the impact of Glide's cuts at small programs like Welcome. Our Saturday night dinners have already swelled from 100 to 300 this year.

It is believed that the breakfast line is so long because it is full of the working poor, who come for breakfast before heading off to work. It's hard to tell how the folk in line will spend the rest of the day just by looking at them, but the line is certainly younger and whiter then I've ever seen it before.

As, I enter my fourth day on the streets I notice that my ability to focus at work is equal to the amount of caffeine I've consumed to get my brain in order. I wonder how many of the hundreds who ate at Glide this morning were unable to concentrate at work the rest of the day, due to the loss of the coffee donation.

I've also noticed that because when I'm working I miss out on the free meal sites, that I have to consume more fast food than I typically would. I'll have to see how this affects my complexion and waist line. But it is certainly hard to tell the difference between waiting in the line at Glide for breakfast or waiting at McDonald's for the value menu. The clothing, smell and look of exhaustion seems to be the same.

In addition to food trouble, getting ready to go to work and trying to get rid of the look and smell of sleeping on the streets is certainly an ordeal. Bathrooms become shower stalls - with adult sized wet wipes for showers.

So, today I pray that everyone waiting in lines - whether it be for stamps, groceries, food, to pay tolls, etc - experience the compassion of a God who knows the frustration of feeling like all of life is waiting. This God reverses the orders of lines and social structures.

Peace be with you all.

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