I paused from serving hot dogs to observe a distraught woman, maybe in her late 30’s. My dishwasher partner, Chris, spoke to her softly,” Go see Sarah-Lynn. She’ll set you up. Don’t worry.”
I gave my buddy a quizzical look. He told me the woman was just kicked out of her apartment by her boyfriend with only the clothes on her back. She had nothing. I asked her if she had a place to stay tonight. She shook her head “No”. I informed her of two shelters offering accommodation for women. “Until you figure things out.”
The woman was saying she had huge bottles of shampoo back in the apartment. But “he” gave them all away. And got rid of all of her clothing, too.
“I have no underwear, no socks, no tampons…” She broke down again and made her way towards the back of the shelter to find Sarah-Lynn.
Sarah-Lynn spoke with the women, went away for a bit and returned with a huge bag of items. Clothing, underwear, socks, a blanket, feminine products. Food to go, too, I think.
Chris and I couldn’t help but overhear Sarah-Lynn.
“Now, remember, you’re a valuable person. No matter what. How about a hug?”
The woman embraced Sarah-Lynn and cried softer now.
Chris has learning disabilities but he’s a wise person, for sure. He turned to me and said,” That’s what we’re here for. If there’s a boyfriend break-up. Or even if problems in a marriage. Sarah-Lynn is an angel of the Lord. Look what she’s done for that woman. An angel.”
Sarah-Lynn was barely five weeks post-op from cardiac bypass surgery. She’s regaining strength and continues to make a difference in the lives she touches at this homeless shelter.
The woman’s sobs lessened. We served her some hot dogs and vegetables mixed with beans. Serving up compassion with the food.
“Yes, Chris. She’s one of a kind. We can’t fix things for that woman. But, we can help her stay fed and clothed; safe and warm. Give her needed support.”
We returned to our work. We were low on donations today. The administrator brought some food items over from the Food Bank room. Cookies and crackers. A giant jar of Cheez Whiz was available. A donation of candy apples also.
There was a “hot dog bun crisis”; that’s what I called it. There were 240 chicken dogs being cooked and we were out of buns. I made the run to the grocery store. I got a good deal on them; saved almost $20.00. I carefully chose which cashier to approach with my order of 30 packages of hot dog buns (eight in a package). In case, I was told, ”Sorry, the limit is 10 packages per customer.”
I chose the pretty teenager, with the bored look on her face. Perfect decision. She didn’t bat an eye at my order. Mission accomplished! We all do our part.