Every Sunday early morning, a long line of people is waiting close to the corner of 5th St and San Pedro St in Los Angeles, an area known as Skid Row. People are full of expectations for an old white Ford van arriving with the materials for their breakfast. They get plastic snack bags and a spoon to enjoy their milky cereal. They also get miscellaneous fruit, Starbucks pastries, and fresh bread and bagels from Panera. Welcome to MamaD’s Kitchen.
Since the late 80s, the Amurt feeding project in Los Angeles, in association with Mamadi’s Kitchen, has been feeding the low-income neighbourhood of Mid City with boxes of groceries for low-income families and Senior Citizens. AMURT is also providing the street residents of Los Angeles Downtown Skid Row with Sunday breakfast and grocery bags. We also feed them with a warm plate of oatmeal and cinnamon and give them hot tea (hibiscus) and toast.
On Friday, preparation time and volunteers gather 120 to 200 bags of breakfast groceries to accompany the hot oatmeal we distribute to them at Skid Row on Sundays. The bag consists of energy bars, yoghurts, fruits, juices, water, candy, pastries, walnuts, almonds, and miscellaneous items such as dates, oranges, bananas, and others. At S. Norton Street in Los Angeles, we prepare boxes on Wednesday and fill them early Thursday morning with groceries, water, fruit, dairy, eggs, meat, and grain.
Our team of volunteers, around 15 to 20 people, has dedicated their time to accomplish this regularly over the last two decades. The people sincerely appreciate our presence and will to serve them; they thank us in many ways, invoke God, and are socially super courteous and kind in return. They feel inspired to politeness and assist elders and ladies in the line and smile radiantly. We, in turn, get even more satisfaction and thankful for the opportunity to make a little difference in other people’s lives. It is a transformative experience that service brings to us all and truly makes our day.
Our donors often witnessed this work and decided to support it so that we can continue this wonderful service sustainably. The younger generation joins us and gets inspiration to help; they will eventually become part of our team and carry it forward. This also is very inspiring to all of us here at AMURT and Mamadi’s Kitchen.