Equality California’s offices were officially closed in observation of Martin Luther King Jr day, but Equality California staffers across the state were still hard at work in their communities to observe this day of service.
Today, Online Director Shaun Osburn and I volunteered at St. Anthony Dining Room, San Francisco’s largest and oldest meal program serving homeless and low-income residents. After being given a quick run down of operation, we were put to work in their very systematic way of distributing the meal of the day. Volunteers put food on the tray, hand deliver to those who need assistance, bus the tables and clean up any spills. Those who receive meals are called guests and very much treated that way.
St. Anthony’s has a 60 year tradition of treating every guest that walks through its doors — no matter of their race, religion, identity, orientation, gender, identity — with dignity and respect. Hot, nutritious meals are served with as Dining Room staff and volunteers give referrals to those seeking anything from clean clothes, job training, substance abuse recovery or a shelter bed.
Because today was a holiday, St. Anthony’s was busier than usual, with no let up of guests. Service ran from 10:30am to about 2:15pm — normally, they stop serving at meals at 1pm. For me, celebrating Dr. King’s birthday reminds me of the end goal: community. Equality and justice for all, no matter race, religion, identity, orientation, gender or socio economic status.