Investing in environmentally safe products is, unfortunately, challenging for food programs and restaurants in the best of times. But, as we have watched our weekly meal distribution numbers nearly double since March, and as we accept that our meals will be served to-go-style for the foreseeable future, we have felt the responsibility and urgency to live into our commitment to the health of this planet, as best we can. So, we are thrilled to announce, that as of last week, our beautiful, nourishing, meals are now being served in biodegradable boxes made of sugarcane. We look forward to figuring out all the ways we, as a community, can care for the ground beneath our feet.
Kelly first met Pastor Brian while he was a patient at Mission Hospital. Pastor Brian was visiting with folks and ended up connecting with Kelly through conversation. After their time together, and once he was discharged, Kelly felt a calling to not only be at Haywood Street, but to be of service to Haywood Street. You can often find Kelly sweeping the entrance and surrounding sidewalks of the church. Kelly recently secured housing, but even during his periods of experiencing homelessness, he has remained a devoted steward of the campus.
Kelly says he is grateful for every meal he gets to enjoy at Haywood Street and he looks forward to outdoor worship starting up soon. “The food feeds my body, but the worship here feeds my soul.”
We thank Kelly for serving the Haywood Street community and for being an important part of what makes this ground holy.
Thank you for understanding our clothing closet’s current limitations.
I had unknowingly set into motion a chain of events that would forever change me and define the rest of my life. I was really focused on this preacher that the Holy Spirit had mentioned underneath the tree, so, as I emerged from the tunnel that faithful Friday morning the world seemed so strange to me. I stumbled along, you know, singing a song, had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. I was very unfamiliar with Downtown Asheville, so I knew that I was going to be asking some questions about what one did when one did not know what to do. I made it almost to the Federal Building on Patton Avenue when I ran into a lady who called herself Gray, just Gray, nothing else. She ask me if I was lost, I said yes, she asked me if I was homeless, I said yes, although I did not really understand what that meant, as I had felt homeless most of my life. She said come with me, and I followed her to this place called A-Hope which I would later learn was a sort of Day Center for people living on the streets. It was an unassuming place, a few people were hanging around, drinking coffee, eating donuts, and talking. I went inside to discover an incredibly unique place that had a feel of sort of a clinic. People were there just hanging out with no agenda, just hanging out. I checked myself and was trying to figure out how to get one of those donuts that I had seen outside when I walked up. I was hungry it had been the previous Monday night since I had eaten anything and so I was hoping for a hand-out of sorts and boy did I discover one. I learned that that day they had some hot potato soup. Gray explained that they normally do not have hot food, but for some reason that day they did. Now I do not know who made the soup or where it came from but to me it was a 6-star meal. I ate 5 bowls, and drank several cups of coffee and some water.
While I was enjoying this amazing potato soup, my mind drifted back to a simpler time, a time when I was a kid on the farm when my Grandmother would cook hot soup, and pies, and all the food that would define me both as a person and a Chef. I did not set out to become a Chef, I wanted to guard the President. I had become focused on that task by writing several papers on the John Kennedy Assassination earlier in my life. I thought through my research that the systems failed that faithful day in Dealey Plaza, and somehow maybe I could help make sure something like this could never happen again. What I did not realize was that every meal prepared in my childhood and young adult life, would eventually define me, and kindle a passion for food that is still with me today. I also did not realize what lie ahead and why God instilled this passion in my heart, God had a plan, I had no idea, but I was about to find out. I finished my soup and tried to focus on what was next, A-Hope closed at noon, so I followed Gray around that afternoon and she sort of showed me around a little, we went downtown and hung out in Prichard Park, which was a place where people on the margins sort of hung out each day along with a wide variety of other people from all walks of life. Later that evening I followed Gray back to her campsite, the warm potato soup still comforting my belly and my soul, later that night I would sleep in a makeshift tent at her campsite and have my second encounter with food. This time, it would make me realize how small the world really was and how we had failed each other as humans, God would use two cats, to open a window to my heart, and the Holy Spirit would come in and fill me to my very soul. I would whisper to God later that night as I was trembling from the cold April night, “Thank you for sparing me, and I will be saying yes to everything you say to me from this point forward, and tomorrow is another day. I will wake and continue my search for this preacher, to be continued……..