Make no mistake: the need for assistance for those who are food insecure isn’t seasonal. It’s 24/7. It’s 365 days a year. And this past Saturday night, SHARE was in New York City on the street, very happy to help – despite a massive power outage that affected the Upper West Side of Manhattan where our stops were located. Despite the deep black abyss that was Manhattan south of 68th Street and Columbus Avenue on Saturday night, people were out and about, enjoying the warm summer night and simply “being,” a far cry from the memories I had of the blackout on July 13th 1977, 42 years earlier, to the day.
Everyone we saw was happy. Spirited. Glad we made it to the city safely. These are my people. My friends. My extended family. They were witness to Rob’s and my wedding last November when we exchanged vows at our annual holiday dinner we host. They are my support, as I am theirs, and we have over three decades, shared love and loss, joy and sorrow together. And so our monthly Saturday night sojourns are far more intimate than what one may think.
We had ample bagged lunches. Rob’s infamous chili and cornbread. Cupcakes to celebrate our youngest volunteer’s 14th birthday. Fresh socks and underwear, tees and tanks and sneakers. Bagged lunches and more than anything else, we had genuine fellowship, a word I am always very careful about using. Summer Runs are a bit different. We’re often met with surprise, as no one really expects us to come into the city; we’re a group that is high school student-centered and we had been following the school calendar for as long as I can remember, with a summer Run or two added to the mix.
We’ll be back, and when we see our street friends again, the summer will have ebbed, school will have started and the chatter will be about our annual Thanksgiving Dinner. These Saturday nights on the street have never grown old or thin for me and honestly, I’m looking forward to the next Run, despite the 32 years that have rapidly passed since the very first Run I ever did…