For the first few years I put the lunches I made in a big satchel that my Mom had made me for delivering the food. I would walk back to my car and fill the bag buck up several times. The bag held around 50 lunches. Often I walked several blocks before I handed out all of the lunches I had made. I walked under the viaduct, and into the park we called “death park” where drug dealers made their deals… I went into the Morrison; a shelter that had mattresses on the floor and also walked to the Lazarus Day Center for vets and homeless people over 55… they all knit me a red, white, and blue, afghan.
One day I still had around 10 lunches left as I walked past a dark alley; I glanced down the alley and I saw a group of guys standing and gesturing in animated conversation. I decided to give them the lunches I still had left. I walked down the alley and the guys, all enormous, circled, and towered over me. It dawned on me that it might not have been a good idea for me to have walked into a dark alley with a bunch of men. But…I was there to do a job…so I pulled out a lunch from my sack …looked at one of the guys and handed it over as I said “would you like a lunch?”… Then all of the men started to scold me at once…”Lunch Lady, don’t you know what could have happened?”… “Lunch Lady, don’t you ever do this again”… They shook their heads…they “tsk, tsked” me, and they each took a lunch. From that day on, when I pulled my van into the lot at the Lazarus Center, there were always two men from that group that took turns to walk as my body guard. I told them they didn’t need to; that I would be just fine. They told me I couldn’t be trusted to “not do something foolish”. They were rough and tumble, and they had hearts full of kindness.