I was able to serve at the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood again on the first Friday of February. There was a larger group of volunteers this time, as it took more time, food and money to organize. The team leader decided to provide a vegan/vegetarian dinner for the group (only in Hollywood!) so we offered a Mediterranean meal of salad, hummus, falafal, pasta salad, tabouli, Greek potato salad, pita bread and more. I thought our guests would be hesitant but it was actually received very well. We made plates and served each resident but they went up for seconds on their own. I was pretty excited my falafels were a success!
Since it was dinner time, we had more of a captive audience so we were able to sit and chat to get to know the residents. With breakfast, everyone had to be out of the shelter by 7AM which left us little time to really interact with everyone. Since it is the same group that stays there each night, I remembered a couple names and was able to follow up on different topics. The residents were all really sweet and appreciative of everything we did for them. It was so great to get to know them, hear their stories, talk about their childhood and just listen. We also had someone deliver a quick sermon from Habakkuk 3:17-19 then watched a portion of The 10 Commandments.
At the end of the evening, I asked the director if I could come back and assist again. It is such a humbling experience but I'm sure it is heartbreaking for those who work there daily and see the outside forces that cause them to live in the state they do, especially if someone disappears. But I do want to go back and donate my time to the church as well as build better relationships. I have a desire to and look forward to seeing everyone again.