Friday 16 April 2010

Notes from the soupline - Part Two

"Let them eat cake". The quotation has been so good throughout the years that I presume it is not authentic. [No idea of the supposedly French original].But there's lots of it for the soupline of the Las Vegas Catholic Worker, together with croissants and other luxurious kinds of bread, and "normal" bread (what should be normal about bread?). 

It is generally said that poverty has a colour, and you can conclude to that seeing the queues for the meal handout on a morning like this. Yet, there are many whites among the poor stretching out the bowl for soup and croissants and the rest. If poverty has a gender too you might conclude it is male, but there may be many reasons why women will not queue up at 6.30 a.m. The few women in the queue turn out to be more modest than the men. Modest would be the right word - some men return for a second, third or fourth helping. One young woman, a new face, aks for a second helping, saying: "I have to eat for two, I am pregnant."
This morning there was absolutely nothing left for the people who were doing the handout, leaving us - ironically - rather hungry after the job. At other occasions the feral pigeons get the remaining bread, there was none for them today.

Before we start we have a morning service with psalms - the order of the day is randomly chosen - and the common prayer for everyone participating:

Oh, God...

Oh, God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry:
When I have work, help me
to remember the jobless:
When I have a warm home,
help me to remember the homeless;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer;
And remembering, help me
to destroy my complacency
and bestir my compassion.
Make me concerned enough
to help, by word and deed,
those who cry out
for what we take for granted.

There is something miraculous about the Catholic Worker. This morning a lady, associated with one of the abundant churches here in da hood in West Las Vegas stopped by and asked with slightly jealous amazement who was doing this handout. "CatholicWorker?" Never heard of...
The ones who get the croissants and the muffins and all the jalapeƱo-spiced hot meals out.