This week (Jan 19) we delivered our annual Christmas dinner (Take Out Style), from Knox Presbyterian Church, on Lisgar Street, just south of City Hall.
Over 150 hot turkey dinners, mashed potatoes, vegetables, bun with butter and pie topped off with hot chocolate —delivered safely and in good order. The volunteers who helped with provisions, cooking" running the meals from the church basement to the door, and those who delivered and kept order — are absolutely the most amazing people. The best of the best! Ever!!
It was a seamless operation performed and delivered with enthusiasm, courage and love.
My role (I chose it myself) was to be with our guests as they queued up outside, and it was the best job ever! I was able to connect with folks I have not seen in months. Often, I had to identify myself because of the face mask, plastic visor and toque, and once I did, it was like home coming! Great to reconnect with people!
I knew most, and those I did not, I introduced myself and made new friends. All the while encouraging words of 'Merry Christmas', 'Happy New Year' and 'Wow! Look at this' were exchanged and filled the air, as people received socks stuffed with all treats Christmas. The candy canes tied to the outside of the socks, and the hand written Christmas cards were possessions most prized (well, OK — second to the turkey dinner) and all went splendidly!
When I got home, I sat quietly and reflected on a job well done by so many willing workers. I was deeply moved with compassion as I saw so many people in such great need. I felt the pain of our friends in the midst of the lockdown. It was a heart melting, mind throbbing, gut wrenching mess that I saw, right outside the church, right in our City!
Then to witness the smiles, warm greetings, exchanges of friendship and recollection of happy memories in the midst of it all for just a few moments as folks eagerly received their dinners, socks and cards. What a breath of fresh air in the midst of our current darkness.
We need to pray for our friends on the street — their safety, their mental health, and ensure we do all we can to help. Your prayers are critical in this process and for this, I thank you deeply.
391 Gladstone Ave. Ottawa, ON K2P OY9
(613)237-6031 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.ottawainnercityministries.ca