Yesterday some of us worked at the New Orleans Mission for Homeless. We made po’boy sandwiches for the guests for lunch (we would call them hoagies), served lunch, and sorted and stored an enormous delivery of baked goods from a grocery store. What we actually did wasn’t the important thing, though. What was important were the stories we heard from the staff about how they had originally arrived at the Mission, down and out,and how their lives had been turned around. What was important were the thank yous the clients gave me when I handed them a cup of iced tea. What was important was the gentleness of the chef when he sat and talked with us after lunch. What was important was the sense that between these walls there was, at long last, some hope.
There are estimated to be 19,000 homeless people in New Orleans.