Monday, April 19, 2010

Tortilla Soup

At this point I am trying to catch you up on the past three months of Feeding The Homeless & to give you some background on it all.

It all began with a man knocking on my front door shortly after New Year's looking for his sister's phone number. He was a former customer of my store called Native Rainbows, but I didn't recognize him, he had changed so much in the three years I hadn't seen him. He told me that he was living behind Fry's Supermarket & that he was homeless.

After he left I cried for a while, seeing that man in that way shook me so much. Later I decided to look for him & to take food to him & other Homeless, hopefully once a week. I never found him, even after searching at a number of City Parks for him. But this incident planted the seed for me to cook for & then take the food to the Homeless. God/Creator works in mysterious ways to give us messages sometimes. :)

The next step was to come up with the money to do so & to find a man to come with me to protect me while delivering the food. At that point I didn't know what to expect & only knew a huge Park where driving by it I had seen many Homeless sitting or sleeping on the ground. The Brother-In-Law of a friend of mine came with me the first time. He showed up with blankets & I had Tortilla Soup with lots of really fresh bread. :)

The weather here in Tucson is great most of the year, so we always have many Homeless people around this city, especially in the winter.

I still had the hurdle of coming up with the money to buy the food to cook for the next weekend & then thereafter. Amazingly some of my friends, also my Native Rainbows customers started giving me money & sending checks in support of this. :)

One of the Miracles of this cause is whenever I was or am down to the last penny, and this happens quite often, someone comes through with more money or food donations. :)
People are so incredible & many care so much !!

My dear neighbor Dave goes to CostCo every second Thursday & once I let him know what I need he picks it up & then donates the majority of the food that I need for that weekends meals. He is an Angel & he & his wife Linda so lovingly have been supporting my cause from the beginning. :)
My friend Mary brought over 20 pounds of raw chicken a few weeks ago, plus other odds & ends to cook.
And Cynthia brought a whole case of zucchini last week, which came really handy for more Tortilla Soup. And I was able to give a bunch of it to a church who also feed the Homeless. But more on that later.
Mary Helen donated a great big stock pot to make cooking easier for me.
Lizzy has been giving me potatoes periodically & other goodies, like fresh fruit. She is a single Mom & is struggling herself.
And Amanda brought a beautiful live Basil plant yesterday to use for the Spaghetti I will cook for the Homeless this weekend.
Thank you all with all of my Heart !! :)

I now go to the Parks with TWO HUGE pots of food every Saturday & most of the time I have enough left over that I can go again the following Monday. :) If I don't quite have enough left over I always find a way to stretch it somehow. In the beginning I fed 12 to 15 people & now I am feeding anywhere from 40 to 50 each weekend. Word is getting around that I come every Saturday & Monday, so now there are more & more Homeless showing up, some are sitting on the curbs waiting for me in anticipation of dinner. :) Pretty soon I will need to cook THREE huge pots of food each weekend. Wow !! :)

Lately I have been asked to cook certain meals again over & over again, which I enjoy. :) It means the people like my cooking. There is this incredible recipe for "Cheeseburger Soup" (it is literally a cheeseburger without the bread & the lettuce in a soup form), which they love & I do too. Also my Tortilla Soup is pretty popular & just recently I made a Kielbasa Stew, which was a big hit. There is also Spaghetti, Burritos, Chili (also a favorite), American Goulash, & Cowboy Beans with Ground Beef & Green Chilies, so far.

If anyone has any recipes to share that I can cook in two pots & then mix together, so I can serve them simply, please send them to me. :) For instance, I can mix the pasta & spaghetti sauce together, so it is simple to dish out. I also put fresh broccoli & cauliflower right into the spaghetti sauce, along with the ground beef & fresh mushrooms. It ends up being a nutritious meal which is easy to handle out of the tail gate of my SUV. :) You'll be amazed how great broccoli & cauliflower taste in spaghetti sauce. :) I used to get my children to eat their veggies that way. :)

In the beginning it was quite an experience for me to learn to cook huge amounts of food in two pots & I'm still learning. :) The first time I cooked 4 pounds of spaghetti at once they ended up burning on the bottom before they were even totally cooked & there was still water left in the pot. Then there is the challenge of multiplying the ingredients by many times & to figure out what to multiply & what not. :)

As of today I have fed 367 people in 3 months. :) It is a lot of work every week, as I am doing it all without any physical help from anyone, but I am sooooooooo happy about it & it feels so good to be doing this every week. :)

I strongly feel that Charity needs to begin at home. We have so many people right here in America that are struggling & need help. Many people judge the Homeless, but I have met mostly good ones in these past three months, so much so that I have been going alone to take the food almost from the beginning. I feel safe amongst these people. Many are down on their luck during these trying times. Some are quite old, others are young & trying to get on their feet. One old man lives in his very old car in the City Park parking lot. He has Edema & has trouble getting around. Another just had a massive stroke. Some are white, some are black, some are Native American & there are Hispanics also. They are all People & who am I to judge them. Slowly I am learning some of their stories & I will blog about that as I go.

These people are so grateful & I get at least one or two "Thank You's" or "God Bless You's" from most of them each time. It feels incredible to do this every week & I look forward to going there. :) Many beautiful & inspirational stories have come out of this, which I will share with you as I continue to blog.

If you feel it in your Heart to contribute to this cause, you can reach me through my email or & I will give you the information you need or you can call me at 520-326-2236. Please know that in order to continue this I need all the help possible. Otherwise, please hold the Homeless in your loving Prayers, which are incredibly powerful. Every donated penny goes to the food, paper plates, plastic spoons, etc. The only money I take out is for gas at times, which I go through much of with going to buy the food after finding the best deals at different grocery stores & then all the trips to the Parks to take the meals. I personally am struggling too with the economy the way it is right now, so I can't afford to pay for the gas myself, otherwise I would. At times I donate my own food to the cause when needed.

Next blog I will share some of the incredible stories & Miracles with you & how this has grown in just three months. :)

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