Food is what it was all about that night. Mary Glover offered a blessing over the spread that included fried chicken, potatoes, greens, a variety of salads, and an array of desserts from apple and squash pies to lemon pound cake, chocolate mint cookies, and a coconut layer cake.
Naomi Scott sat behind the piano and led us in a hymn, after which everyone found their way to a place around one of the long tables decorated with white tablecloths and red candles. There was a festive spirit that night, as we celebrated five years of hard work and partnership that had provided food for 800 families and senior citizens every month in the neighborhood we together call home.
A recent report in The Washington Post had concluded that only two cities in the country had higher food prices than Washington, D.C. -- Honolulu, Hawaii, and Anchorage, Alaska. The only explanation informed sources seemed to give for exorbitant food prices here was, "The market will bear it."
But some people could not bear it. In a city overrun with lawyers and real estate speculators, smoked salmon and liver pate may have shown up on lots of dinner plates; but in another part of town, people did not fare so well.
In the early years of the Reagan regime and its cruel budget cuts, we began to learn of increasing numbers of our neighbors going hungry. We opened a food line in the basement of a large apartment building on a cold Saturday morning in November 1982. That was the humble beginning of a program that went on to create a wealth of friendships and gratitude to God.