I write to you now from Charlotte, North Carolina!
Today’s post will be pretty short as most of what we did today was travel.
We awoke this morning, checked out of the hotel, and headed to the same CitySquare food distribution center that we were at yesterday. When we first arrived, we were not entirely sure what to do and felt in the way. But, after a few minutes, we figured out the system. Basically, people come in through the front. They give their information. The most crucial of which is how many people they have in their family. I believe they are allowed to collect 21 pounds per person in their family. They are then given a ticket and showed to the back where a volunteer walks with them around the food pantry. They select the foods they want, so long as they are within the pound limit. Their food is then weighed. After it is weighed and certified as being the correct weight (most people picked up a good deal less than they were entitled to; we sent them back to get more food in such cases) they are helped outside where other volunteers load the food in people’s vehicles. I worked with a man named Arnold Steward. We weighed the food. Arnold is originally from Louisiana, but was forced to move when Katrina came through. He ended up in Dallas and has been volunteering with CitySquare for years. Others from our group helped load the food into cars and helped people get their food. In addition to us, there were several AmeriCorps people who have been assigned to CitySquare. It was a very neat, very hands on experience. We got to see the CitySquare machine in action. The main thrust of the food distribution center is providing fresh produce to people who would not otherwise get it.
After our time at CitySquare, we headed to the airport. We caught our flight from Dallas to Charlotte and made it just fine. We then drove across Charlotte to meet up with Mark Moore, CEO of MANA. He briefly told us the plan for the rest of the week (it is going to be packed but absolutely awesome). He also let us into the home of David Todd Harmon (co-founder of MANA) which is where we will be staying. David Todd, along with his wife, is currently out of the country. They have graciously allowed us to camp out in their home, which is where I am currently as I type this. Tomorrow we are spending most of the day with Mark at the MANA offices and then will be joining his church family for their Wednesday worship. I’m very excited.
I will definitely write another post tomorrow. I expect it to be a good deal longer.