Be the Cause

Orange County Food Bank

This month’s compassion cell was as eye opening as it was fulfilling. We gathered at the Food Bank, prepared to help with whatever was asked of us. Our energy was put to good use as we helped to label boxes for storage. We created a sort of assembly line effort, and we concluded the afternoon feeling rather productive. And, as usual, we worked contently with a buzz of chatter.However, we then gathered into a room to watch a video about the Food Bank and what they do. Most were genuinely surprised at the hunger in the rather affluent Orange County area. Our excitement of volunteering our time and being together was directed appropriately to the reality of why we were there. We showed up ready to work, and left with a general sense of urgency and understanding of a problem in need of a solution. We concluded the day in a circle to focus on what we had taken from the day. We all seem to have left with a renewed sense of awareness and ready for next month’s Compassion Cell.

Hanging at the Catholic Worker

The Catholic Worker is located on a quaint little street in Santa Ana. I was expecting some great big facility. Surprisingly enough, what I found was a fairly ordinary two-story house. But looks can be deceiving. That ordinary house accommodates over 200 people per night! Volunteers occupy the second floor rooms while their guests fill the remaining ground floor rooms and even the backyard when the weather is nice.

At first arrival I was struck by how quiet things were, this wouldn’t last long. I was greeted by a very friendly Dwight and his wife Leigha. They quickly became the calm center in the storm. As the house started to fill up with more and more guests and volunteers, they took the rising level of noise and chaos in stride. They easily delegated tasks to our whopping 30 volunteers. In just a few hours we made and served dinner for hundreds of people at the catholic worker and also at the Santa Ana Civic Center, we cleaned and organized the donated canned food, donated clothes, the kitchen, and the many cabinets full of medicine, diapers and everything else you can think of. Some Be the Causers even helped with electrical and construction repairs. When we were all through, we still had time to play games and paint with the kids.

Our day was so full of laughter and noise. Everyone swooping in and around and about. It was chaotic but smooth at once. We were a microcosm of the universe, at the end of the day, each of our separate tasks came together to form a bigger picture. I felt calm and at peace. I can’t wait to go back again!

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