Home > Life > I’ll stay late.

I’ll stay late.

Each time I have to stay late for work, I see something important. Tonight, I saw what a community can look like.

A few weeks ago, staff talked with residents to see what they would like to do for Thanksgiving. They decided that they wanted to hold a potluck. Last week, my supervisor posted a sign-up sheet on the front door of our building. Yesterday, the sign-up sheet looked promising. What we saw tonight, however, surpassed our hopes. For the 35+ people who came to dinner, our residents cooked two turkeys, a ham, a tray of ziti, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes, cranberries, potato salad, deviled eggs, stuffing, and a slew of cakes and pies made from scratch. Those with less culinary ease brought sodas, ice, and store-made desserts. More able-bodied residents helped those who were less mobile. Those who cooked urged their neighbors to join in, even if they didn’t have a dish to bring. Residents volunteered to bring food from the kitchen out to the table. Staff and residents set up together, ate and joked together, and at the end of the meal, cleaned up together.

Most of us feel some sort of stress during the fall and winter holidays, but since the clients where I work have severely limited income, this time of year often feels horrible for them. It makes them think about when they last had their own house or apartment, the gifts they could give, the dinner they could cook, and how they felt secure in the sense that they could provide something, even if it was small, for their families. Tonight, though, they chose to have Thanksgiving with their neighbors. They chose to share what they could, and in turn, they revealed a different kind of family.

I’ll stay late for that.

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