When I was a teenager my mom would take us to a really cool fundraiser. First we stood in line - it seemed like a really long time, but it probably wasn't. Then the doors were opened and we went into a room with tables and tables of bowls - pottery, hand-crafted - all different! We could select one or two bowls and we took our time looking, searching for the best ones. After we had our bowls mom would pay for them and then the bowls were washed. Then we could pick a soup which volunteers would put in the bowl and that with rolls and later cookies would be our dinner. Empty Bowls was the name of the fundraiser and it raised money for SOME - So Others Might Eat - a non-profit in Washington, DC that provides meals and many other services for the homeless. We would also spend some time chatting with the man-in-charge, Father John Adams because he was a friend of our family.
Under Fr. John's leadership SOME has grown - adding many services such as a dental clinic, job training and affordable housing units. In 1970 SOME was founded and it was a very small organization. His leadership and vision have helped it to grow tremendously. I always think of SOME as Thanksgiving approaches because one of my family's traditions is to participate in the SOME Turkey Trot.
It's Thanksgiving morning. We get up early, scramble for appropriate layers and get in the car. Usually we drive into DC - you can take the Metro - but we almost never pick up our packets ahead of time so we need to arrive a little earlier than the Metro will get us there. If we're early things are pretty quiet and we get our race packets and stroll about. Some people will run, others will walk. We are in Freedom Plaza and people are beginning to arrive. A few, a few more and suddenly there are lots of people, beginning to line up - wheelchairs, then serious runners, then any runners and behind them the rest of the throng.
We admire all the costumes - the theme is turkeys - so there are many ingenious turkey outfits. A few people anticipate Christmas with Santa or Grinch outfits. Some of the cutest are the dogs dressed in some very creative costumes. The race begins! for the runners and the rest of us straggle forward heading down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol. If it's sunny it feels wonderful - the time, the place, the statement. Even when it rains it feels good to take action against hunger on Thanksgiving morning. It's a very short race, a 5K, so as we walk down Pennsylvania Avenue the lead runners will approach and we cheer them! Their race is almost over while we have about an hour to walk. There will still be plenty of people cheering for us when we finish. It's a great start for the day.