Every yr, difficult child and easy child's school have a huge Thanksgiving dinner for poor and homeless people in our worst neighborhood. We begin by donating cans of food, turkeys, and money. After a couple of wks, a committee gets together and figures out how much we have, how much we need to buy, goes out and gets it and they get up early and start cooking. The meals are served from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. The line goes out the door, down the street and there are lots of police keeping things under control. Nothing every happens, but that's because it's pretty well organized. difficult child went a cpl yrs ago and of course, hated it and refused to cooperate. He didn't even want to go in the bldg. It is loud, and I mean LOUD, not just from the voices, but from the gospel music on stage, and the woman singing on top of the piped in music. And its' people, people, people everywhere. difficult child wasn't going to get out of the car, and as I was standing there, I was debating whether I should grab a homeless man and tell him that my son was refusing to feed people, and perhaps he could help me out, or whether I should grab a nearby cop and say the same thing. Which would influence difficult child more? difficult child must have noticed the expression on my face, and the two steps I took toward the stranger, because he popped out of the car on his own and started toward the door, LOL! (Never underestimate a Warrior Mom!) difficult child stuck to me like glue. I think he was scared. He warned me that he remembered the place and it was too loud and crowded, and I commisserated and told him we'd only stay an hr or so. We noticed that the people serving food were well organized, so we went straight into the kitchen, which was not organized. I'm not a take-charge person, but this was easy. One woman said a man needed a break from washing dishes, so I put difficult child to work doing that, and then gave some other boys the task of rinsing, and another guy the task of drying. Then I took the newly cleaned serving spoons and had difficult child bring them back out to the chaotic serving line. I noticed a timid HS girl volunteer, just standing there with-a pile of napkins in her hands, so I asked for half of them, handed some to difficult child, and started placing them next to people who were eating. Most people had dripped gravy all over and crumpled their napkins and needed new ones so it was an easy task. Then I saw people trying to take food home and it was slopping all over the paper plates, so difficult child and I tore off sheets of Saran Wrap and wrapped lots of take-home plates. difficult child didn't want to lean over people and wrap their plates--he really was scared--so he handed me the Saran Wrap and stood behind me while I did it. Everyone was very nice and smiling but it was still intimidating to difficult child. He was way out of his element. All you had to do was keep your eyes open and you'd see what needed to be done. difficult child begged for a choc brownie and he was being so good, I gave in and let him have one small piece just b4 we left. On the way home, he asked all sorts of questions. How can you tell which people are homeless? (The ones who smell, and wear their winter clothes all the time because they don't have suitcases). Does our city govn't and our taxes pay for all this housing? (Public housing, apts.), Yes. Do you have to be homeless to eat here? Nope. Just poor. And no one checks your tax records, You just walk in and everyone trusts everyone else. "This looks like an all black neighborhood." (He's really starting to notice that sort of thing, especially with-Obama as Pres-elect.) Yes, it's 98% black. We're in the South. Most of them dropped out of HS. "I think they dropped out of 5th grade!" (LOL. He can be clever once in a while.) "Why are there metal bars across the store fronts?" So people don't break the glass and steal things. "Why do they steal things?" Because their parents steal and that's the way the kids are raised. It's that kind of a neighborhood. "Why are those kids jumping in puddles in the middle of a busy street by themselves? There's no parent with them." Sigh. I love real life education.