Today we went to Brooklyn. Our worksite was the Flatbush Reformed Church, the second oldest church in New York City. We met Pastor Dan, and he sent half of us down to see Gary in the kitchen. Gary clearly had things under control and found some things for us to do, and then we took a tour of the garden and composting center locating on the church grounds. After we tooled around for awhile, it was finally time for us to go upstairs and serve food. We had spaghetti, garlic bread, two kinds of salad, and desserts. Flatbush Reformed serves a free, hot meal every Wednesday, and today we were joined by about 50 people for lunch. We cleaned up, and then we headed back to the hostel to change clothes and get ready for dinner.
Dinner this evening was an unexpected treat. Well, it was expected in that we knew we would be having dinner at YSOP with some special guests, but I'm not sure we expected to have as much fun as we did. Tonight at 4:00 we gathered with our friends from MN and got our dinner assignments. For each task, two Jackson youth paired with two MN youth. Four of them made mac and cheese, four decorated cupcakes, four made salad, and four prepared garlic bread. The laughter from the kitchen almost drowned out the adult conversation in the next room.
Pretty soon five guests arrived from the Doe Fund. You can read here to find out more about how it got its name. Before I had a chance to even see what was happening, board games were out and conversation was deep. A big group of guests and youth were playing Apples to Apples. Another was playing dominoes. There was a game of chess in one corner, and Anthony, the staff person who had brought the men, was holding court in one half of the room. Anthony is a Doe Fund success story and motivational speaker. And he was motivating those fortunate enough to be sitting with him.
Dinner was soon served and the conversation was animated and joyful. The men we hosted were pretty amazing, and we loved being with them. We ended with a circle of silence (this is a Quaker organization) and said goodbye with lots of hugs and well-wishes.
Once dinner was cleaned up, both groups headed to the Staten Island Ferry for an evening ride. We introduced them to the joy of looking for rats in the subway, which thrilled their leaders, I'm sure. There was only one instance of only half the group getting on the ferry before the other half did, but they hugged a tree and we were easily reunited.