There is a big welcoming sign in front of the doorway to the free lunch. But the door is locked. I bang for a while before I'm noticed. A woman comes to the door and says: "The sign tells you to come around the side" (no, there is no sign) "Haven't you been here before?" "Yes, I have"
It's 12:30 and the lunch ends at one. The last time I was here, I noticed that more people showed at 12:30 then they did at 12, so this time I came later. Each week, a different church manages the lunch so the rules are always changing. The food is in the back kitchen. I walk to the kitch.
E-"Is there any food left?"
"Yes" a server says. She gives me a drumstick, melon, and corn. I ask if there are any breasts and she says no. To me, this looks like a snack, rather than a full meal.
Server-"Taking it to go?"
E-(Now why would they assume that when it's only 12:30?)
E-"No, I'm eating here." (I feel rushed already)
I sit with a 55 year old woman, her boyfriend and their 12 year old son. I notice the man was given 3x more food than I was. This isn't the first time I've noticed that men get much bigger portions than women.
I have my Obama button on my coat. The woman I'm sitting with, has a thick rural drawl and I can barely understand her.
Lady-"Did you vote for Obama?"
Elana-"Nope" I joked, but she didn't get it, so I said "yes, i did"
Lady-"Absolutely not. We voted for Ron Paul"
E-"Is he libertarian?"
Lady-"Oh yes, he's very liberal. He's pro gun AND pro family. But we're not political"
E-(This conversation isn't making much sense to me. She's more interested in talking then listening, so I just listen)
Lady-"Now that O. is in office, my food stamps have gone up."
Lady-"300 a month, for a family of 4" "I used to get 14 a month"
Someone starts spraying cleaning chemicals on the table next to us, and they're all ready to shut down. The stream of spray is so long, I worry we'll get sprayed. I try to eat fast. I ask if there is any more chicken left. The first male worker Iasked said, no there is not; yet, the man at my table was given 3 carry out meals...................................Since I know that nobody anywhere knows what there doing, I ask a second worker. "Is there any chicken left?"
"Yes, she replied"
The workers start stacking chairs on the tables, and I'm mentally prepared for them to stack chairs right on top of our table while we're eating.
The woman at my table says alot more about how dangerous HUD is. She says that maintenance men will steal your food! (Of course that's what happened at La Pew, but she didn't really give me an opportunity to tell her that) She went on to say: "Never trust a Pennsylvania cop" "Perry hall is city now" (I'm going to assume that she means that in an unofficial way)
While I"m eating a volunteer comes over and asks if we want our blood pressure checked?! Is she kidding me? I think about that irony sice soup kitchen food tends to be so high fat.
The minute I take my last bite, a volunteer chimes out, "FINISHED?!"
e-"Doesn't look like I have any choice BUT to be finished." I tell her.
The one woman wants to hang around and talk to me, but I said loud enough for the workers to hear me, "we better talk outside, cuz they're in a hurry to get us out of here"
Coming up soon, my experience at the next week's soup kitchen............................................