What do writers do when they aren’t writing?  I don’t know about other writers, but I know I need to get away from it once in a while, and I’ve found the perfect escape.  Every Thursday morning I spend a little over two hours dishing up food for those in our community who “are unable to obtain or prepare their own meals because of age or infirmity.”

I’m talking about the meals-on-wheels program in Charlotte, better known as Friendship Trays.  This invaluable organization, headed by former volunteer Lucy Bush Carter, delivers more than 600 meals daily to those who are elderly, disabled, convalescing or otherwise unable to prepare meals on a regular basis.  Those of us on the assembly line prepare two trays for them:  one consisting of a salad, fruit and bread, and the other a main course of meat or fish and vegetables.  The trays are separated and labeled according to dietary needs and destination, and delivered near noontime by volunteer drivers to anyone who has requested or been recommended to receive the service.

I can tell you first hand, these meals are prepared with lots of love and much behind-the-scenes activity. Much of the food these days is grown in Friendship Gardens, a joint initiative of Slow Food Charlotte and Friendship Trays.  Many of us have gotten to know Lani Lawrence, Volunteer Coordinator, who has the difficult task of making sure just the right number of volunteers are available on a given day. Long before we arrive, Head Chef, Lamont Harrison and Sous Chef, Devonne Jackson are hard at work.  When we roll in a little before eight, it is not uncommon to get a huge hug or a heartfelt greeting from Kitchen Manager, Tammy Curry or Dietary Manager, Jennifer Wahab.


staff-lucy-bush-carter     staff-tammy-curry    staff-lani-lawrence      staff-devonne-jackson       staff-lamont-harrison

Lucy Bush Carter          Tammy Curry               Lani Lawrence                Devonne Jackson           Lamont Harrison

On Thursdays there are about seven or eight of us who come on a pretty regular basis.  We’ve gained the reputation as “the divas” (not sure if that’s good or bad but I can tell you, we take our work seriously!)  You can see for yourself in the clip below:

Friendship Trays Video Clip

Sometimes we are joined by students or other organizations, and unflappable Tammy and Jennifer choreograph the scene like master magicians, making it a meaningful and productive experience for all.  Frankly, their management skills are on a par with their culinary skills!

If you are unfamiliar with this organization, I urge you to check out their website and get involved in a way that is comfortable for you.  BTW, this is an unsolicited, from the heart promotion of my favorite nonprofit organization. In my opinion they are doing everything right, not only feeding the hungry, but feeding them well and with a big heart.   Through my tiny moment of connection with them each week I have gained great new friends and broadened my horizons.


Hey READERS, I would love to hear from you.

Is your MIND FULL of old thoughts or new?



Writer’s Day Off: FRIENDSHIP TRAYS — 2 Comments

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