Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Last Meal Served on February 8, 2014 - Tortilla Soup, Chips, Bread, Tossed Salad & Cookies

Since it is still quite cold in the evenings here and during the nights I thought some nice hot Tortilla Soup with lots of zucchini would be good to warm up the people in the parks this past Saturday.  We fed 55 people altogether.

Thank you Dave & Linda, Marilyn, Faith, Gerry & Kim, for your awesome help with this meal !!  :)   You all will be in my heart always !!   :)

It was my very last meal served in the City parks and now it is on to new adventures.  I decided to stop, for good this time, since at Christmas time I stuffed 72 backpacks full of gifts and necessities and after we handed them out to 72 homeless people not even one acknowledged this or said thank you to me.  It felt like, what took me three months to put together, the homeless people saw as an obligation or an entitlement and that just broke my heart.  :(   A little gratitude can go a long way !!  So after 4 years of doing this and 11,430 meals served I have closed up the kitchen.

I would like to thank all of my helpers during the past 4 years once more for your loving support & for giving your time, money and energy to this project.  I am ever so grateful and I hope that you are always blessed in return in many, many different ways !!  :)   The world is a much better place because of all of you in it !!  :)

After taking a little time out to tie up all the loose ends from feeding the homeless I will start my next adventure.  :)  I have been thinking about this and have done some research for a couple of years already and the time is here to actually do it now.  :)

Most of you have heard of the school children's Backpack Program, where each child on Friday will get a backpack filled with enough food for the weekend.  On Monday the child brings the empty backpack back to school and then everything will repeat itself on Friday.    

My plan is to find a Day Care and do the same every week, since many single Mom's are struggling to feed their little ones.  And Day Care is so expensive.  The plan is to do this only on a smaller scale through my home with the help of people who would like to donate or help out.  :)   Please let me know if you are interested in continuing to help in one way or another.   :)

I am so ready for some innocence and the smiles of all those lil' Day Care Munchkins !!  :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Feeding the Homeless Photos 1-25-14


Cheeseburger Stoup, Tossed Salad & Bread

Another weekend and another meal served.  :)  This time it was Cheeseburger Stoup, a cross between a stew and soup.  :)  I always try to make this thicker and more stew like to give the homeless more nourishment and more solid food.  This seems to be one of their favorites, as we always get extra "thank yous" when serving it.  :)   Tacos is another one of those. 

We also made a big bucket of tossed salad and had lots of bread to go with it all.  We ended up feeding 60 people.  :)  Right now it is hovering around 60+ every time we go.  Both great big pots were totally empty when we left the parks, many homeless had come back up for seconds.  :)

I saw many new faces this time around, more than usual.  I can't help but wonder why this was happening, but just don't know. 

It is great that the days are getting longer again and that we don't serve when it is dark anymore, at least not in the first park.  In the second park it is dark pretty much from the beginning still, but there are great lights there now, so we all can see.   :) 

K.C., thank you so much for donating all that candy !!  :)  It looks like you went out and even bought more than you offered to start with.  You are awesome !!   :)   Sorry I missed you, I was running a little late. 

Hilde and Sue, thank you for jumping in at the last minute to cook the meal together !!  :)   You bailed me out !!  It is always so much fun to be in the kitchen with you both & I miss the days when we did it more often.  :)  I'm very grateful for all the hard work you both did !!   :)

Dave, thank you so much for contributing some of the food and as always for loading up the car for me !!  You are always there when I need you and I so appreciate you for it !!  :) 

Marilyn, Gerry and Kim, I couldn't do this without your loving help and am sending you each a great big thank you !!  :)   And another one to you Marilyn for cleaning up the big pots & salad bucket afterwards !!  :)  

Mark, thank you for the wonderful check you sent !!   :)  It will help out quite a bit.  :)

A great big thank you goes to some of the members of the St. Joseph Rosary Makers for donating used warm clothes once more.  :)  Also to Hilde's church group for the odds and ends that are so helpful always !!  :)  It all is needed.   

Time to get some rest now.  :)   Sleep with the Angels everyone !!   :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

My Four Year Anniversary

Today is my four year anniversary of feeding the homeless people.  :)   It doesn't seem possible that it has been that long already.  :o  

The past four years have been filled with joy and sadness, loss, and new friends too.  :)  And I wouldn't trade most of it.  I learned a lot about doing this kind of work, on what not to do and on what is beneficial and helpful to the homeless and I try to pass it on to others as much as possible.     It has been quite a journey !!  :)  Some day I will write a book about it all in hopes to inspire others who are interested in doing this too, for now this blog will do.   :)

It has been quite a challenge, and at times it still is, to transform the recipes I find into those huge quantities we cook each time and to make them work as planned.  :)  I only ever cooked for my small family and my friends before this, although then I even always cooked a little too much.  :)  But I never cooked for 60 to 100 people at the time.  :)  And up until about 14 years ago I truly disliked cooking.  How about that and how about how time changes us ??  :)
With the help of so many kind souls, all over this beautiful country of ours, more than 11,300 people were fed during this period of time and we all slept better knowing that there were some of the homeless people here sleeping with full bellies those nights.  :)  

So here is to another four years, or at least to as long as my 70 year old body holds up for this gift to others who are less blessed than we are !!   :) 

Thank you each and everyone who ever helped out with this, I am ever so grateful to you all !!  :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Chili, Crackers, Tossed Salad & Lots of Cake

Tonight's meal was Chili once more since it is such comfort food & it is pretty cold now in the evenings here & during the nights.  My hope is that it warms up the homeless people from the inside out.   :)   We also had lots of crackers & my cooking angel, Faith & I also made a great big tossed salad.  For dessert we had two wonderful cakes that Buck had made with fun & colorful frosting.  :) They were a big success, Buck, and people wanted seconds.  And there were also some cookies.  We fed 61 homeless people tonight & everyone was happy & some really grateful for the food.   :) 

Marilyn, Gerry & our lil' Lexie (12) came to help serve & it was such a joy to have Lexie with us again.  She is such a ray of brightness & cuteness & is so bubbly !!  :)   Thank you all so much for helping again !!  :) 

Dave & Linda chipped in with some of the food again & Dave loaded up all the heavy stuff into the car at my home.  Thank you both, I'm very grateful to you !!  :)  

Jeanne had brought over blankets & pillows for the homeless, so we handed those out tonight also.  Jeanne, thanks for all your kind efforts with this, that was really awesome !!  :)

We had stuffed backpacks left-over from Christmas, so Marilyn made sure that everyone who didn't receive one two weeks ago, got one this time.  :)   Now they all are gone & I have my livingroom & diningroom floor back again.  :)   Yay !!  :)

Good night everyone & sleep with the Angels !!   :)

Homeless Feeding Photos on 1-11-14





Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Dinner & Backpacks 2013

Oh what a joy it was tonight, even though it all happened a few days after Christmas.  :)  Everyone was still in the Christmas Spirit and very excited for it all to unfold.   :)

Our Hilde (89 years young) was in her kitchen for a couple of days to make about 30 pounds of meatloaf and a huge pot of her famous ever so smooth gravy, both of which have become a Christmas tradition now for the homeless people.  This was the third year in a row she made them for everyone.  :)  Thank you my dearest Hilde !!  :)  

Faith, Bruce, and I cooked the rest of the dinner, which was mashed potatoes, corn in butter, green beans with dried cranberries, and a big tossed salad.  Marilyn made a huge bowl of Jello with fruit again and we had lots of Cool Whip too.  Then there were home baked cookies & fresh water.

Dave loaded all the food once more for us, into two cars this time.  K.C., Sally and Harvey loaded all the backpacks into their two trucks to transport over to the parks.  Yeah, we needed two whole truck beds.  :)  Hilde's Great Grandkids Michael (14) and lil' Lexie (12) helped too.   :)

When we got to the first park there were quite a bunch of homeless waiting, looking quite hungry.  They formed a long line pretty quickly and we hustled to get everything set up.  Thank you Hilde, Kim, Gerry, Sally, K.C., Marilyn, and Michael for serving the food and water.  We all were a great team and fed 63 people altogether.   :)

Thank you cute Lexie for taking most of the photos that follow & Marilyn for contributing some also !!  Great job you two !!  :)  It was hard to choose which ones to post here, there are many.   :)  

Mark, Frank and Sandy it was wonderful to see your sweet faces at Santa Rita Park and to be able to spend at least a few seconds with you !!  :)   I truly wish I could have had more time with you !!  And Bryce, it was nice to meet you !!  :)

Earlier in the day Mary came over with more items to put into the backpacks, plus blankets and warm clothes.  So I hustled to get them all into the backpacks too.   Thank you my Mary Mouse, and Dennis for giving up your Dad's warm coat.  :)

After everyone had full bellies we handed out the filled to the top backpacks and in addition everyone got new T-shirts and underwear in their sizes.   :)   All the people in the parks were so grateful and happy and that made all of us happy too.   :)   

We went to the second park after that and repeated it all once more.  It was such a wonderful evening and stretched Christmas out for all a little longer for all of us !!  :)  

The night before I tackled all the cookies & was able to put 10 to 12 cookies, depending on the size, into  each backpack.  :)  I ended up with close to 1000 cookies after all & would like to thank all the wonderful bakers who took the time to help out, especially at the last minute for some.  :) 

Thank you Buck, Alison, Ginger, Marianne and her two lil' girls Chelsey and Heather, Katie, Racheal, Dolly, Dawn, Nicole and Nathan, April, Leigh, Deena, and Inna, who baked her first cookies ever and 16 dozen at that !!  And a big thank you also goes to Audrey and Rose for baking 18 dozen !!  :)   I have some left over, which are frozen, so I can take them when we serve the next regular meals.  It's always great to have home baked cookies for the people in the parks.  :) 

Thank you to each and everyone of you for helping make this Christmas Celebration possible and for being my Angel Helpers !!  :)   I am always grateful and feel blessed by all your Kindness !!  :)

Wishing you all a truly happy and fulfilling 2014 filled with many blessings each and every day !!

Christmas Dinner & Backpacks 2013 Photos



























Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve with the Homeless 2013

What a Miracle tonight was !!  :)  

The 17 Deep Dish Pizzas added up to being able to feed 68 people this evening, which is quite a bunch.  When we got to the first park there were more than a normal amount of people there & we were plowing through those pizzas pretty quickly.  I kept thinking I need to go to buy some more near the second park, as I had a feeling we would run out, at the rate we were dishing out the pieces. 

When we got to the second park there were another huge amount of people and I kept saying that I need to buy more pizzas to be able to feed everyone in line.   :)   Normally the people at the second park get seconds and the left-overs after everyone had their first portions. 

Here is where the Miracle comes in .... we fed exactly 68 people.  That's how many homeless showed up altogether & that's the exact amount of pizza we had.  :)   And all that on Christmas Eve !!  :) 

I had many helpers tonight, which made everything quite easy.  Three ladies from R & R Rescue (Reclaimed & Repurposed Pooches) came to help & to bring cookies, and so did my friend Buck, who has baked many cookies and cakes for the Homeless throughout the years.  :)   Marilyn stopped by for a little bit to say "hi" to everyone & to meet some of the Doggie People, as I call you all affectionally.   :)

Thank you Dolly Fernandes, Deena Singer, April Vanderpol & Buck Bannister for your loving support this evening !!  :)  It was fun to meet you & to now have faces to go with your names.  And thank you for all the incredible cookies & the Love you put into each one !!  :)   Most will go into the backpacks for this coming Saturday.  :)

Dolly, a special thank you goes to you for rallying everyone together to bake cookies & for your awesome job in organizing to bring dog bowls and dog treats for the homeless doggies in the parks.  :) 

All the blankets, comforters and sleeping bags were gone by the end of the night, except for one blanket and a couple of shirts.  We could have used a bunch more warm jackets though, so if anyone would like to donate some, I am happy to take them this coming Saturday.  :)

Wishing each and everyone of you a very special Christmas, and I will sign off with lots of Gratitude for all your Open Hearts for our People in the City Parks !!  :)

Sleep with the Angels !!   :)

Christmas Eve with the Homeless Photos 2013










Saturday, December 21, 2013

Stuffing 72 Backpacks - Part 1

All 72 backpacks are stuffed and are almost ready to go to the parks for the Homeless people for Christmas, except for adding all the cookies, which I will do in a few days, so they will be fresh.  :)
We will deliver everything on Saturday, December 28th, along with a great big Christmas dinner.  :) 

It took seven of us close to four hours to get it all done and you can see photos below of the before and after.   :)  Thank you Sue, Marilyn, Laura & Steve, Cristina & your brother Gabe, for putting your whole hearts into this !!   :)   What a team you all were !!  :)   I am amazed !!

We packed those bags full of 60 hand crochet beanies by Cheryl, who has been working on them this whole year.  :)  She is now crocheting more already for next years Christmas.   :)

K.C. motivated many people in her Crafts Club to knit scarves for the Homeless and here are some of their stories:

Laurie Mullins works on scarves when her leg hurts too much to do anything else.  She finds some yarn in her stash and then spends the day in bed working on scarves.  :)

Tina Roose learned how to crochet on YouTube.  She buys yarn at Goodwill and practices by making scarves.  :)

Patricia Gellin has made the scarves during her lunch break.  :)

Lori Blew began to crochet again after a 20 year hiatus to make these scarves.  :)

Ian, Lori's husband, "brochets" and does a scarf every now and then to clean his pallet between projects.   :)

Margaret Newman just loves to crochet and feels she should use up her stash, because that way she can get more yarn.   :)

Sue Lynn Halloway Turner who just read about the project of the scarves on Facebook, made a few and mailed them from Texas.  :)

Kelsey Henderson did the same and made a few.  :)

KarenYasher made several and would have done more but found out that two of her nieces were having babies.  So she knitted baby stuff instead.  :)  Congratulations !!

And K.C., who does not like to knit at all, bought a few to donate.  :)

June, from Hilde's knitting club, made two bunches also, so we had enough for each backpack.   :)

Thank you to all you kind souls for your beautiful work & the loving dedication to this project of keeping the Homeless a lil' warmer this year.   :)  

Randy Seligmann of Chiral Research, donated warm socks and warm gloves, along with a gift card to Fry's, which helped so much with buying the candy and some food.   :) 

Eleanor Miller donated money and I was able to buy the T-shirts and sweatshirts with it.  :)

A very, very generous donation from the BSD Winers & Diners helped with being able to get all the men's and women's underwear, the backpacks, and a lot of odds and ends that were still needed.   :)

The Ahmidiya Muslim Community here in Tucson just blew me away again this year by donating 65 each of the Deodorants, Shampoo, Conditioners, Shaving Cream, Razors, Bars of Soap, Decks of Playing Cards, Candy, Chocolates, some Used Books and Magazines, some Toothpastes and Toothbrushes.  And the children of the Mosque with the help of Ulliya made many hand-made and very precious Christmas cards to stuff into the backpacks.  :)  

Pat Bovine too wrote a lot of Christmas cards again this year and she mailed them to me all the way from Arkansas this year.  Pat, this is becoming a tradition for you.   :)

The children of the Boys & Girls Club of Tucson made a lot of cards too with the help of Jasmine there.   :)

Ashley Brock's First Graders made cards too and it was kind of hard for me to part with them.  :)  They were just really adorable & their spelling was the cutest ever.   :)

Many different items were donated by the sweet Ladies from the St. Joseph Rosary Makers.  It was so nice to finally meet you all and to be able to spend a little time with you.   :)   Thank you Elena for always being the "Instigator" for all these Kindnesses.   :)   And it was wonderful to be able to take all those warm jackets to the Homeless people too right around the time it got so cold.   :)  

Big thanks to each and everyone of you for helping make all of this possible & for your beautiful, open and caring Hearts !!   :)

To be continued .............

Stuffing 72 Backpacks Photos